Stevens Point, Jan 29, 2014 -- Contact:
Kevin Tuttle, Public Information Coordinator
Motel’s Energy Improvements in Northeast Wisconsin Drives Down Costs
STEVENS POINT, WIS. – January 29, 2014 --- For an 18-unit motel in the rural town of Suring in northeastern Wisconsin, paying $2,700 per month in utility costs was too much of a burden to bear. But with energy improvements and upgrades utility savings should be close to $2,000 per month come summertime.
USDA Rural Development provided a $20,000 grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to Mountain Springs Motel toward the installation of 160 roof-mounted solar panels that are projected to produce approximately 72,000 kW per year. GreenSky Energetics, Inc., a renewable energy company, and Focus on Energy teamed with Rural Development to provide funding and assistance toward energy improvements.
“Renewable projects like these are great examples of how small businesses like Mountain Springs can cut energy costs, and subsequently increase their bottom line. The REAP program assists businesses and farmers in managing operation costs, in addition to helping to conserve our natural resources,” said Kristin Peterson, USDA Rural Development Business & Cooperative Programs Specialist, who worked on the motel’s funding approval.
Although the photovoltaic (PV) system currently is covered with snow and not producing energy, owner Carol Lepkowski says she isn’t complaining and can’t wait to see her bill reduced even further from its once-crippling total. After all, it’s the snow that attracts snowmobilers to the motel.
“We had to average a full house to deal with that size of a bill,” Lepkowski said, adding that such requirements aren’t feasible, especially if weather doesn’t cooperate like last winter with little snow. “Once the panels are active it will take us to mere hundreds of dollars in electric fees, rather than the $2,700 we were spending.”
A representative from GreenSky Energetics, Inc., based in Manitowoc, Wis., talked to Lepkowski about the potential of using solar energy to reduce their costs. Partnering with Focus on Energy and USDA Rural Development provided the avenues to financially make this a reality.
“The owners of the Mountain Springs Motel recognized the utilization of solar PV as a reliable and cost-effective way to drive down annual energy costs while creating energy security for the future of their business. With the help of federal programs such as the USDA REAP grant, the client was able to navigate through the initial costs that come with a project this size and realize the long-term value of their investment,” said Jordan Kaiser, GreenSky Energetics, Inc. Central Wisconsin Field Agent. “This system is predicted to provide clean, renewable energy for over 30 years, along with the peace of mind of energy independence.”
“In the rural community, it’s so nice that other people are looking out for you,” Lepkowski said. “If it weren’t for good people coming by, we’d still be paying those big bills. This project is helping the planet and our energy costs. Win-win!”
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
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