By Wendy Osher
Two Maui businesses were selected as recipients of rural energy grants from the US Department of Agriculture, according to an announcement released by Chris Kanazawa, state director for USDA Rural Development.
The rural energy grants provide assistance to agricultural produces and rural small businesses to complete projects that improve economic stability and quality of life in rural America.
Lloyd’s Kahului Chevron, located at 130 West Kamehameha Avenue, is the recipient of a nearly $40,000 USDA grant which will allow the station to purchase a 32 kW photovoltaic solar system, the announcement said.
The system is expected to generate more than 60,000 kilowatt hours per year, saving the company about $24,000 annually in electric costs, officials said.
“We would like to thank USDA Rural Development for providing us with this opportunity to venture into sun power as a source for renewable energy,” said co-owner and vice president, Roberta Yamamoto in a press release.
“Without the grant it would have been financially difficult. We look forward to the operational phase of consuming less fossil fuel energy and doing our part to help save the earth from further global warming,” she said.
Also on Maui, ʻAumakua Holdings, which does business as Maui Brewing Company, received a $20,000 grant to purchase 16 photovoltaic parking lot light fixtures, the announcement said.
The new equipment will reportedly be installed in the future site of the company’s brewpub operations, to be located at the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kīhei.
The small craft brewery currently employs 15 people, and prides itself on the use of local agricultural products. The company says the grant helps further drive the their initiative as a “Green Brewery.”
“We are honored to be selected as a grant recipient, this will allow us to further strengthen our commitment to sustainability. The solar powered lot lighting is a critical component of our project demonstrating the off-grid capabilities of lot lighting,” said Maui Brewing Co. owner Garrett Marrero in the announcement.
The grants were among three totaling $120,000 that were distributed through the Rural Energy for America (REAP) Grants program. The other grant, in the amount of $60,151, went to AOK Enterprises , which houses two subsidiary businesses, Volcano’s Lava Rock Café and Kīlauea General Store, located in Volcano, Hawaiʻi.