October 26 (SeeNews) - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday announced more than USD 300 million (EUR 275m) to help small businesses across the country lower their energy costs by adopting renewables or improving energy efficiency.
A total of 423 businesses are receiving USD 237 million of loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to install renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. The funds could also be used for energy efficiency improvements.
In addition, Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City, Texas, was given an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program (EECLP) loan of more than USD 68 million for an energy efficiency program, whereby Pedernales' members will be offered low-interest loans of up to USD 20,000 for solar and energy storage equipment.
USDA said that since 2009, REAP has helped finance more than 11,600 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that have cut the energy bills of about 15,000 rural businesses.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.917)