Maui News

USDA Invests $46,000 in Hawaiʻi in Renewable Energy Infrastructure

September 9, 2021, 11:01 AM HST
* Updated September 9, 11:04 AM
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Maui Tea Ventures in Kula is receiving $6,635 from the USDAʻs Rural Energy for America Program to replace non-functioning batteries in an off-grid photovoltaic system with new batteries and components. Photo Courtesy: Maui Tea Ventures

The US Department of Agriculture is investing $46,552 in Hawaiʻi to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure to help agricultural producers and rural businesses lower energy costs. It is part of a $129 million national program in 48 states and Puerto Rico. 

These climate-smart investments will conserve and generate more than 379 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in rural America, which equates to enough electricity to power 35,677 homes per year.  

“USDA continues to prioritize climate-smart infrastructure to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before,” Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said. “We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities for people in America’s rural towns and communities. The investments we are announcing today demonstrate how the Biden-Harris Administration has put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions.”

According to Hawaii/Western Pacific Acting State Director Denise Salmeron: “[The] program provides critical funding for Hawaiʻi’s rural businesses and agricultural producers to develop renewable energy systems and/or to implement energy efficiency improvements to improve their bottom line. These projects not only spur economic growth in Hawaiʻi, but also demonstrates the agency’s commitment to combating climate change.” 

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The funding in Hawaiʻi: 

  • Maui Tea Ventures, LLC., $6,635: This Rural Development investment will be used to replace non-functioning batteries in an off-grid photovoltaic system with new batteries and components. Installation will restore electricity generation to replace a portion of fossil fuels used to power a propane generator that currently provides electricity to the facility the applicant uses for commercial purposes. 
  • Fleming & Associates, $19,620: This Rural Development investment will help purchase and install a 14.76 DC kilowatt photovoltaic energy system for an architectural firm office building. The project projects to generate 18,829 kilowatt hours per year.  
  • Puna Flower Power, $9,955:  This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and install a 11.7 kW solar energy system. This project will save $8,707 per year and will replace 15,548 kWh (100 percent) per year.
  • Sugar Hill, $10,342: This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and install a 7.6 kW solar energy system to power an off-grid farm cold storage unit the business uses for meat cutting, wrapping and product storage. This project will provide 10,406 kWh per year.
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USDA is financing the projects through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program provides funding to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The investments will help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that affects our climate.

To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state office

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page
 

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