Michigan agricultural producers, rural small businesses win $2.1M in renewable energy grants

What’s happening: The application window for the next round of renewable energy grants and guaranteed loans is currently open for agricultural and small businesses throughout rural Michigan, and closes on Saturday, Sept. 30. The grants and loans are offered thanks to the federal Rural Energy for America (REAP) program through USDA Rural Development.

What they are: The REAP program benefits agricultural producers and rural small businesses by awarding grants and guaranteed loans toward renewable energy system purchases, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies for renewable energy systems, and energy audits and assistance. While this current application window closes on Sept. 30, the program itself runs through September 2024, and grant and loan competitions are held quarterly throughout.

Click HERE to learn more about the application process, requirements, and more.

Proof is in the pudding: USDA Rural Development announced the latest round of REAP recipients earlier this month, featuring more than a dozen agricultural producers and small businesses throughout rural Michigan. The installation of solar power systems is by far the most popular project in this latest round.

Winning grants toward solar power systems are The Plant Professionals, Inc. ($44,365) of Clinton County; Fishing Tackle and Grab Bag ($31,666) and Mason Tackle Company ($125,393), both of Genesee County; Mojo Filter LLC ($34,553) of Grand Traverse County; Braun Real Estate Enterprises LLC ($13,500) and Key North Mini Golf & Family Fun Center ($19,874), both of Huron County; Y&P, Inc. ($348,336) of Kalkaska County; Cherry Bay Orchards, Inc. ($32,000) of Leelanau County; Little Parsley Farm LLC ($15,386) of Marquette County; Carlson Arbogast Farm ($75,628) of Montcalm County; Monroe Dodge Chrysler, Inc. ($194,205), Mid-American Gunite, Inc. ($300,400), Four Star Greenhouse, Inc. ($417,600), and Groulx Automotive, Inc. ($150,946), each of Monroe County; Gemini Capital Management XIII LLC ($18,509) of Saginaw County; Lindy's Sales, Inc. ($31,000) and Beagios Pizza of Kingston ($34,974), both of Tuscola County.

Also, Stormy Knight Veterinary Team PLLC of Alpena County won $20,000 for a solar power system with a battery backup. Robert Peterson of Montcalm County won $123,924 for a grain dryer. And Michigan State University was awarded a $99,999 grant to conduct renewable energy assessments for 35 agricultural producers and small businesses throughout rural Michigan.

Why it’s important: “USDA continues to look for ways to strengthen rural communities and improve energy independence as well as efficiency,” says U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins. “These projects are part of the largest sustained investment in renewable energy in history.”

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