U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Solar Energy Technologies Program – News
USDA Awards Grants for Wind and Solar Energy Projects
July 7, 2004
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in mid-June its
award of $11.3 million to six projects that will attempt to alleviate
high energy costs in rural areas. The High Energy Cost Grants will fund four projects in Alaska, one in the Navajo Nation in New
Mexico, and one on the Hualapai Reservation in Arizona. One grant will go
toward a wind turbine in Hooper Bay, Alaska, which has excellent wind
resources and an average electricity cost in excess of 45 cents per
kilowatt-hour. The Hualapai project will include a solar photovoltaic
power system, and the Navajo Nation project will install hybrid solar
and wind power systems as well as energy efficiency improvements in at
least 50 remote homes that currently pay 75 cents per kilowatt-hour
for their electricity, on average. See the announcement on the High Energy Cost Grant Program Web site.
One recipient of last year's High Energy Cost Grant is using it to
finance solar power installations in Washington State. The Public
Utility District (PUD) of Ferry County will fund either line
extensions or solar power installations for remote customers whose
cost of electricity exceeds 23 cents per kilowatt-hour. The utility
will install solar power systems for these customers, allowing them to
repay the cost over 20 years, and will also maintain the systems. See
the Ferry County PUD announcement.
The USDA offers a variety of grants and loans that relate to energy
use on farms and in rural areas, several of which were recently
summarized by Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in a speech before the
USDA Conference on Agriculture as a Producer and Consumer of Energy.
See Secretary Veneman's speech.