The U.S. Department of Agriculture is granting $37 million to South Carolina farmers and rural-based businesses to help boost energy efficiency.
Grants and loans from the investment fund will be allocated from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program and utilized by 12 recipients including Cherokee County’s Mohea Solar Energy Center LLC, Darlington County’s Robert E. Moore III Farms LLC and Chesterfield’s Centerfield Cooper Solar LLC to install new renewable energy systems or streamline existing systems, according to a news release.
Newly-founded Mohea Solar Energy Center plans to purchase and install a 6.5 MWdc solar energy utility scale solar system, expected to generate 9.9 million kWh of power for 8,860 homes in Gaffney — and three new jobs in the area.
Centerfield Cooper Solar LLC will take a $25 million loan from the fund to finance its plans for 539.3-acre solar farm, expected to generate 97.7 MWDC and three additional jobs at a $30 per hour wage. The farm will be operated by Pine Gate Renewables and linked to the Santee Cooper Power Grid, the release said.
About $18,000 will go toward the Moore farm’s new grain dryer, expected to save the family-owned farm $10,000 and enough energy to power 10 homes each year.
“These investments will help farmers, ag producers and rural businesses make energy efficiency improvements and will also create more jobs in their communities,” Debbie Turbeville, state director of S.C. USDA Rural Development, said in a news release. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural South Carolina in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”p