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4 rural operations get $342K in USDA renewable energy funds

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.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.


  1. RamonAntonio September 26, 2011

    There is an immense opportunity in the Agro Industrial Complex of Puerto Rico. Taken as a group, they remain one of the single local capital industries (if they survive the fall of the banks). However, in terms of energy projects they could become the single most important project in Puerto Rico. LEt us all work to make it happen.


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