Three Puerto Rico farming operations will split nearly $240,000 in loans and grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to produce renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements, the agency announced Tuesday.
Granja Avícola Pujols Corp., an egg producing operation in San Sebastián, is getting the bulk of the funding that combines a $115,000 loan with $57,500 in grant money, to install a 55-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.
Horse breeding company Potrero Los Llanos Inc. in Coamo will receive a $32,900 loan, plus $16,450 in grant funding to install a 20,298-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.
Meanwhile, farmer Tomas Cortinas will receive an $18,000 loan to install a 240-kilowatt solar panel system.
The funding is made available through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
“The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners across the country reduce their energy costs and consumption,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This is part of the President’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, which involves expanding support for traditional as well as alternative energy sources. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America.”
REAP provides grants and loan guarantees for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to reduce energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. A total of 106 projects in 29 states, Guam and Puerto Rico were benefitted in this round of funding, the agency noted.
The federal farmer grants complement other locally run funding programs to move the use of renewable energy forward.