HILO, Hawaii, Jun 18, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Chris Kanazawa announced today a $20,000 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant to Jack's Diving Locker to purchase and install a new photovoltaic solar system to reduce annual energy costs and increase efficiency.
"At USDA we understand the important role energy costs play in improving the bottom line," said Kanazawa. "Our energy grants aim to help rural businesses, farmers, and ranchers find energy solutions that will spur economic growth in rural Hawaii."
Jack's Diving Locker facility is located in the Coconut Grove Marketplace in Kailua-Kona, where it employees 40 employees and service thousands of guests per year. The new 29.38 kW photovoltaic system is comprised of 125 solar panels and is expected to reduce annual energy costs by more than 53 percent.
"We are trying to lessen our carbon footprint on the earth in every way we can," said Teresa Leicher, Managing Partner of Jack's Diving Locker. "Adding photovoltaic is one of several steps we have been taking towards a future of fully producing our own energy."
This project is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies by creating opportunities for growth and prosperity, supporting innovative technologies, identifying new markets for agricultural producers, and better utilizing our nation's natural resources.
REAP is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation's critical energy needs. Grants fund up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewable energy and $250,000 for energy efficiency.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).