Two commercial potato farms in Maine are set to receive federal funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the installation of solar PV projects.
The state is set to receive over $24 million in grants and loans to build renewable energy infrastructure in rural areas, like the two solar facilities built for Irving Farms of Caribou and Corey Rioux & Sons of Fort Kent, Maine. Irving Farms is receiving more than $150,000 to fund a system large enough to power 44 homes, and Rioux & Sons was granted more than $30,000 for a system large enough to power roughly nine homes. The facilities are planned to power the growing, shipping, and packing operations of the two companies.
These grants came upon successful application to the Rural Energy for America program, which offers guaranteed loan financing and grant funding for small businesses to install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency upgrades.
(Read: “Which crops pair well with solar?”)
To qualify for the program, applicants must be agricultural producers with at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations and must be small businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 50,000 residents or less. Eligible addresses can be checked here.
Funds can be used to construct solar PV projects, or other renewable energy projects like biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and hydrogen.
Loan guarantees up to 75% of eligible project costs are available, and up to 25% of project cost can be funded in the form of a grant. Combined funding of loan guarantees and grants can equal up to 75% of eligible project costs.
A study by Purdue University showed that of 400 surveyed farmers, who run operations larger than $500,000 in annual revenue, nearly one-third are aware of solar leasing opportunities for their farmland, and 29% have engaged in discussions with solar companies about leasing their land.
Larger farms benefit from economies of scale and lower prices from larger solar projects. The USDA program offers small farms an opportunity to better compete and to procure lower-cost renewable energy.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.