USDA awards $172,000 for 17 energy projects in rural Oregon

Nine of the USDA grants in Oregon will go to finance rural solar installations.

Nine of the USDA grants in Oregon will go to finance rural solar installations. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program selected 17 Oregon energy projects that will share $172,000 in funding as part of the Rural Energy for America Program authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

Nationwide, 430 projects shared $6.9 million in funding.

In addition, three Oregon projects received $70,483 in funding to complete feasibility studies for energy projects. Nationwide, 20 projects received $412,304 for feasibility studies.

The program's funds have been cut dramatically. Last year, Oregon projects shared $1.29 million in funding.

The funding is aimed at helping agricultural and rural small businesses reduce energy costs, incorporate renewable power and determine the feasibility of planned renewable energy projects.

"The Obama Administration and USDA are helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, protect the environment, and strengthen the bottom line for businesses." said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.

One recipient, Klamath Veterinary Services will receive a $16,695 grant to offset the $66,781 purchase and installation cost for a 9.9 kilowatt solar system at the East Ridge Animal Clinic in Klamath Falls. According to the USDA, the system will generate 22,000 kilowatt hours for the electrical grid and generate an estimated $5,370 in revenues for the business each year. With the benefit of additional state and federal incentives and tax credits, the company expects the system to pay for itself in less than six years.

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