SOUTH CAROLINA (WCIV) — The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has awarded $615,644 to support four projects in South Carolina.

Tom Vilsack, the secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), said in a statement, “The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to expanding access to modern clean energy systems and fueling options that strengthen the nation’s energy independence while creating good-paying jobs and saving rural Americans money.”

“We are excited to partner with hundreds more family farms and small businesses as well as rural electric cooperatives and local clean energy developers to address the impacts of climate change, grow the economy and keep rural communities throughout the country strong and resilient,” he continued in his statement.

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Oswald Wholesale Lumber, Inc. in Lexington County will receive $395,232 to install its own solar array with over 241.57 kilowatts of capability, according to the USDA. It is expected save $47,500 annually by replacing 337,113 annual kilowatt hours, enough to power 32 homes.

Federal officials say Rani Partners LLC in Aiken County will use $124,113 from the grant for a new roof-mounted solar array with 101.3 kilowatts. It is expected to save $19,011 each year, enough power to keep the lights on in 13 homes.

A new grain dryer will be purchased and installed with $56,033 for Windham Family Farms in Darlington County, which is expected to save over $21,501 annually. It will replace 326,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to power 31 homes, according to the USDA.

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Bobby Marshall Norris Jr., a crop farming operation in Chesterfield County will use a $39,966 share of the grant for a new grain dryer, which is expected to save $11,006, according to the USDA. It will be 108,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power 10 homes.

“These projects will allow South Carolina agricultural producers and rural small businesses to increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs,” said George W. Hicks Jr., the South Carolina USDA Rural Development acting state director, in a statement.

USDA has given out over $486 million to South Carolina in grants and loans meant to help with water and environmental issues and system improvement, with $39 million being given in 2023 alone.



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