CHESTERTOWN — Two Kent County-based businesses recently received grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The grants were designed for “projects in all states and Puerto Rico to reduce energy cost for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions,” a news release states.
“These investments will allow rural Maryland farmers, ranchers and small, rural business owners to make significant savings that will improve their bottom line. The REAP program helps rural Maryland businesses prosper which helps all of Maryland prosper,” USDA Rural Development State Director Denise Lovelady said in the release.
The USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation, the release states.
James B. Quinn has been selected to receive a REAP Grant in the amount of $12,704.
“This Rural Development investment will be used to make energy efficiency improvements with the purchase and installation of a grain dryer,” the release states.
Quinn, an independent agricultural producer in Kennedyville, will realize $5,259 per year in savings and will replace 25,673 kWh — 67% — of energy per year, the release states. This project will save enough energy to power three homes.
Smartech Electrical Inc, in Chestertown, has been selected to receive a REAP Grant in the amount of $11,250. The release states, the grant will be used to purchase and install a 12.753 kW roof-mounted solar array.
Smartech Electrical, a full-service electrical contractor serving residential, agricultural and light commercial customers, will realize $2,189 per year in savings and will replace 16,218 kWh — 127% — of energy per year, the release states.
“I understand the importance of economic growth in rural America and I support our local communities. As a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, I welcome this investment in the Eastern Shore to support our hardworking small business owners, employees, and farmers,” said U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, in a separate statement announcing the REAP allocations.
Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019, the release states. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks.
REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems such as anaerobic digesters, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar. It also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration, the release states.
For more information on the REAP Program, contact Bruce Weaver, state energy coordinator, at 302-857-3629 or Bruce.Weaver@usda.gov.