The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program will provide 10 grants worth a total of $657,298 to businesses in Maine’s First Congressional District, including one to a Windham company. The infusion of rural development funding comes from the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congressional Democrats and signed by President Biden, according to a statement from Rep. Chellie Pingree’s office.

McDonnell Brothers Custom Builders, of Windham, will receive $12,600 to install a new 5.67-kilowatt roof mount solar panel system. This project is expected to save $1,674 per year and generate 7,325 kilowatt hours per year.

“The Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in rural electrification since passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936 and is making enormous strides to incentivize rural and farming communities in their transition to clean energy,” said Pingree, a longtime organic farmer and member of the House Agriculture Committee, in a press release. “Thanks to this landmark legislation, the Rural Energy for America Program is helping well-deserving businesses in Maine and across the country reduce their carbon footprints and cut their utility costs at the same time. The REAP grants in my district will go a long way in helping rural businesses be part of the climate solution.”

Other REAP recipients in Maine’s First District include: NC Hunt Inc. of Jefferson; Copeland’s Garage Inc. of Warren; Hatchet Mountain Garage Inc. of Hope; Doles Orchard Boxshop of Limington; Douglas H. MacGilpin of Brunswick; Winslow Farm of Falmouth; Boca Builders of Woolwich; Junction Garden of Vassalboro; and Brancatos Heating Inc. of Brunswick.

In addition to the grants announced April 23 for Maine’s First District, the USDA announced 11 grants for rural businesses in Maine’s Second District and more than 700 clean energy project grants nationwide.

The REAP program helps agricultural producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar, geothermal and small hydropower energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families.

Pingree has been an organic farmer since the 1970s and is a recognized national policy leader on sustainable food and farming, according to her office. As a member of both the House Agriculture Committee and House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, Pingree continues to be a vocal advocate for agriculture and food policy reform.

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