Social Links Search




USDA grant helps KY farm switch to solar energy

USDA grant helps KY farm switch to solar energy

By Blake Jackson

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is offering financial assistance to farmers and rural businesses looking to invest in clean energy.

This program can significantly reduce the upfront costs of solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower systems, and energy-efficient building upgrades.

Kentucky recently awarded a REAP grant to Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville. The $111,778 grant will help the farm install additional solar panels, leading to an estimated annual energy cost saving of over $14,000.

"This grant will allow us to invest in new equipment, expand our greenhouses and market, and continue serving our community," said Gabriella Gallrein, manager of Gallrein Farms.

USDA Rural Development State Director Tom Carew emphasizes the program's benefits: "REAP grants can improve a business's bottom line, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and boost the rural economy."

Funding for the program comes from the Biden Administration's Inflation Reduction Act, which prioritizes clean energy initiatives to address climate change. Kentucky, like many regions, is experiencing increased temperatures and precipitation due to climate change caused by fossil fuel use.

A report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee highlights the Inflation Reduction Act's role in making renewable energy more affordable. Ken Slattery, an energy consultant for EightTwenty (the company installing Gallrein Farms' solar panels), explains that "without the grant, the solar system would have paid for itself in 9-10 years. With the grant, it's nearly immediate."

Transitioning to solar power aligns with Gallrein Farms' sustainability goals. "Many people don't realize the importance of energy for businesses, especially farms," says Gabriella. "We have greenhouses, grain bins, and equipment – all requiring substantial energy. Solar power offers a more sustainable solution."

The application period for REAP grants runs from late June to September. To be eligible, businesses must be located in rural areas with populations under 50,000.

This program provides a valuable opportunity for Kentucky farmers and rural businesses to embrace clean energy and reduce their environmental impact.

Photo Credit: istock-shansekala

Produce high quality hay - key tips for horse markets Produce high quality hay - key tips for horse markets
Kentucky middle schoolers shine in national civics bee Kentucky middle schoolers shine in national civics bee

Categories: Kentucky, Energy

Subscribe to newsletters

Crop News

Rural Lifestyle News

Livestock News

General News

Government & Policy News

National News

Back To Top