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South Carolina businesses benefit from $266M in federal clean energy funding

Jason Thomas //September 1, 2023//

South Carolina businesses benefit from $266M in federal clean energy funding

Jason Thomas //September 1, 2023//

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South Carolina businesses are benefiting from $266 million in loans and grants being awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to agriculture producers and rural small businesses to make investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.

This funding is made possible in part by President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Grants totaling $2.66 million have been awarded to 17 South Carolina businesses, according to the release.

“Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release. “These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”

USDA is investing $266 million in 1,334 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in 47 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, according to the release. The Department is awarding the loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), including funding from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is working to ensure that 40 percent of the benefits of certain federal investments reach communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.

The funding is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to grow the American economy from the middle-out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

USDA continues to accept applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes $144.5 million for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19,239 of the March 31 Federal Register.