WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provided a grant to Saco Bay Marine LLC. The boatyard, transitioning to clean energy in Biddeford, was awarded a $28,710 grant to install rooftop solar. It’s estimated this 19-kilowatt (kW) roof mounted solar photovoltaic system will generate more than 94 percent of the business’s energy use per year, and the environmental benefits of the project include the equivalents of 2.1 homes taken off the grid, 18,339 pounds of coal not burned, or 3.6 gasoline-powered cars taken off the road.

“The recent storms that devastated our working waterfronts have emphasized the very real and destructive impacts climate change is already having on our communities,” said U.S. Rep. ChelliePingree, D-Maine, a longtime farmer and member of the House Agriculture Committee. “It is critical that we continue to move to renewable forms of energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, while also improving the resilience of our working waterfronts and associated infrastructure.“Thanks to expanded funding in the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, USDA’s REAP program is making investments in renewable energy projects like Saco Bay Marine’s — helping make our agricultural producers and rural small businesses more resilient in the face of the climate crisis.”

The IRA, championed by House Democrats and signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, represents the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history. The IRA provides more than $10 billion to support USDA’s clean energy transition programs.

Pingree is the author of the Agriculture Resilience Act, comprehensive legislation that sets a bold vision of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. agriculture by the year 2040. The Agriculture Resilience Act includes a section supporting on-farm renewable energy.

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