USDA sends Pennsylvania $5M for solar projects



(The Center Square) — Federal largesse for solar power will continue in 2024 as $5 million will soon expand the number of panels in a dozen Pennsylvania counties.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $5.2 million investment in Pennsylvania green energy to boost 34 projects. The money comes after $23 million was awarded last year through the department’s Rural Energy for America Program.

The money comes from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“The Biden Administration and USDA are ensuring farmers and small businesses are not only a part of the clean energy economy, but directly benefiting from it,” USDA State Director for Rural Development Bob Morgan said in a press release. “We have seen a great impact from this Administration’s focus on clean energy projects here in Pennsylvania. We expect this effort to continue in 2024.”

Most of the projects focus on solar panel installation, but a few will upgrade heating and cooling systems for efficiency gains. The rural energy program gives both grants and loans to farmers and ag companies, along with rural small businesses, for business growth and energy improvements.

Funding gets awarded on a quarterly basis and the USDA will accept applications through September.

The largest grant went to J.L. Moyer & Sons in Northumberland County; $767,000 for a 1,248 kilowatt solar system for a soybean farm. Star Rock Services in Lancaster County received $500,000 for a 1,330 kilowatt photovoltaic system. And Flintrock Corporation in Lancaster County was awarded $250,000 for a solar system to power a poultry, crop, and horse farming operation.

Non-farming businesses also received grants.

Spring Mountain Adventures, a winter-sports resort in Montgomery County, will get $673,000 for solar power. Upward Broadband, an internet services company in Fulton County, was awarded $348,000 for a solar array. Glenwood Foods, a grocery store in Franklin County, will get $250,000 for solar. And an auto repair shop in Lancaster County and a campground in Lancaster County received $236,000 and $226,000, respectively.

The funds are a fraction of the $200 million in grants awarded for clean energy and fertilizer projects nationwide.

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