Rural Arizona communities to receive over $50M to make energy efficient improvements

Dec 13, 2021, 4:05 AM

Biogas plant before solar park. (Aerial view with a drone). Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (P...

Biogas plant before solar park. (Aerial view with a drone). Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — More than $50 million is being invested into rural Arizona communities in an effort to reduce the impacts of climate change, the USDA announced Wednesday.

Through five grants and two loans, small businesses and agricultural producers will either make energy efficient improvements or receive upgrades to their renewable energy systems, the Department said in a press release. 

“The good people of rural Arizona are feeling the effects of climate change and ready to respond,” Charlene Fernandez, Arizona state director for USDA rural development, said in the release.

One of the two $25 million loans was allocated to the Butterfield Dairy near Gila Bend to help in funding an anaerobic digester facility that will convert manure into renewable energy gas. It’s projected to generate enough energy to power 8,462 homes.

Milky Way Facility near Maricopa received the second $25 million loan to also assist in converting manure into renewable energy gas, which is expected to power 11,119 homes.

The USDA set aside $213,645 for Levy Arcadia, LLC, which will use the funds to install an energy efficient system for a Prescott assisted living facility, saving about $64,000 in annual utility costs.

Levy Arcadia will also use nearly $78,000 in grant funding to replace lighting with energy efficient LED lights.

A family-owned winery in Wilcox is expected to save nearly $40,000 in annual utility costs after energy efficiency improvements are made with a $108,361 grant.

Wholesum Family Farms, Inc. will install a solar photovoltaic system with a $91,967 grant.

A business that serves the Southwest Arizona-Sonora trade community in San Luis is using $86,047 in funding to make energy efficient upgrades. Richard L. Jones Customhouse Broker is expected to save more than $27,000 annually in utility costs after upgrades are complete.

All projects will receive funds through the Rural Energy for America Program.

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Rural Arizona communities to receive over $50M to make energy efficient improvements