by Anthony Hennen
In the name of fighting climate change, rural Pennsylvania is to receive $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for renewable energy projects.
The money, most of it authorized through the Inflation Reduction Act, will go to 17 projects in 13 Pennsylvania counties. Nationally, the funds are part of a $300 million Rural Energy for America program.
“USDA Rural Development is in a unique position to make climate-smart investments in rural infrastructure to help America building back better and stronger,” USDA Pennsylvania State Director Bob Morgan said in a release.
The REA program helps farmers and agricultural businesses install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. A handful of Pennsylvania projects received at least $50,000.
In Columbia County, Bloomsburg Carpet Industries was awarded $175,000 to install a 1501-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system on its roof.
“This project is expected to save $219,395 per year and will replace 1,853,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 170 homes annually,” the release said.
In Cumberland County, Freysinger Pontiac GMC Buick will receive $127,000 for two solar power systems on two buildings at its car dealership. Officials estimate it will save $28,000 annually and replace enough energy to power 31 homes.
Meadow Ridge Farms of Berks County, a poultry producer, was awarded $98,500 for a 187-kilowatt solar power system estimated to save the farm $17,000 annually. Meadow Ridge provides fertile eggs for flu vaccine production.
Snyder County’s Curtis Dietz received $77,000 for a solar power system to go on unfarmable land at his poultry farm; the project is expected to save $18,000 annually.
In York County, York WallCoverings was awarded $69,000 to upgrade its lighting, which is expected to save $15,000 annually and cut energy consumption by 48%.
In Franklin County, Silver Moon Properties will get $61,000 for a solar power system for the roof of its office building, estimated to save $13,000 annually.
Also in Berks County, Shirey Turkey Farm will receive $50,000 for a solar power system to go on the roof of a turkey barn, saving the farm an expected $8,000 annually.
The Department of Agriculture funnels a significant amount of funding to rural Pennsylvania. In December, it announced more than $300,000 in economic development grants, as The Center Square previously reported, as well as $2 million for health care and $20 million to preserve streams and farmland.
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Anthony Hennen is a reporter for The Center Square. Previously, he worked for Philadelphia Weekly and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He is managing editor of Expatalachians, a journalism project focused on the Appalachian region.
Photo “Solar Panel Installation” by Los Muertos Crew.