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$566K for solar energy in Hawaii/Western Pacific

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HILO, Hawaii—The Trump administration has announced that the United States Department of Agriculture is investing more than $566,000 to improve local business energy efficiency while benefiting the environment in rural Hawaii and Western Pacific.

“Businesses grow and create more jobs when their energy costs are lower,” said deputy undersecretary Bette Brand. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary [Sonny] Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

According to Hawaii/Western Pacific State director Brenda Iokepa-Moses, these investments will help farmers, agricultural producers and rural-based businesses lower energy costs. “Improving energy efficiency to assist farmers, the agricultural industry and rural businesses is a way to help our environment and our producers.”

Iokepa-Moses added that renewable energy is a win-win for Hawaii and Western Pacific communities and businesses and now it’s more important than ever. “With the real-time [adaptations] in dealing with the pandemic, programs like these are no longer just luxuries for the communities; they have become essential.”

Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and to install renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. The funding can also be used to increase energy efficiency by making improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration.

For example:

-Kawamata Farms, LLC. – $20,000 RES REAP Grant:  Funds will be used to purchase and install a 10.27 kW solar photovoltaic system for Kawamata Farms tomato farm in Waimea, Hawaii. Project will generate 15,079 kWh or 99% of their energy needs per year. 

-Hawaii Ulu Producers Cooperative – $37,732 RES REAP Grant:  Funds will be used to purchase and install a 60-kW photovoltaic system for a commercial food processing operation. Project is projecting to provide 79,701 kWh or $19,367 savings per year.

-Hawaii Ulu Producers Cooperative – $60,382 EEI REAP Grant: Funds will be used to finance energy efficiency improvements with the purchase and installation of an energy efficient freezer/refrigeration system that will replace 80,070 kwh/year or $24,278 savings for their food processing facility.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. (PR)

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