A pair of dairy operations in Hatillo and two other operations in Guayanilla and Aibonito are the recipients of nearly $342,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. In the case of Puerto Rico, all of the companies will integrate solar energy technology into their businesses.
The four local companies are among 500 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across the U.S. chosen to get loans and grants for these types of projects.
“This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration’s plan to help the nation’s farmers, agricultural producers and rural small businesses conserve natural resources, create more green jobs and lead us on the path to becoming an energy independent nation,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “These projects are in addition to the more than 900 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects recently announced during the President’s Rural Economic Forum.”
As per the list of awardees, Brothers Dairy and Vaquería Caco Inc. in Hatillo, Master Paints & Chemical Corp. in Guayanilla and Andrés Núñez Avilés in Aibonito were included in the distribution of funds under the Rural Energy for America Program, a 2008 Farm Bill initiative.
REAP offers funds for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. These federal funds leverage other funding sources for small businesses. In all, USDA announced today more than $27 million in energy grants and guaranteed loans for projects.
The REAP program is helping many agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption. Grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project’s cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency.