Budzinski Announces $1.8 Million in Rural Energy Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) announced that ten small businesses in Madison and Macoupin counties will be receiving more than $1.8 million in Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These funds will go directly to energy efficiency upgrades that will lower energy bills for recipients. 

Many of the awards allow for the buildout of new solar arrays. In total, the solar energy capacity added from this funding will generate $305,200 in energy savings per year for local businesses, and the energy generated from the new installations is enough to power 219 homes.

“As small businesses struggle with the impacts of high energy costs, the Rural Energy for America Program is making localized investments in renewable energy production to help folks lower their power bills,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “Today, I’m thrilled to announce that $1.8 million in federal funding is headed to ten small businesses in Madison and Macoupin counties to bring more energy production online, bring down costs and reduce harmful carbon emissions.”

“As a small business in the collision industry, our margins are pretty small. When our power bill went from $2,500.00 a month (.04 KW) to almost $6,500.00 a month (.12 KW), we knew we had to do something” said Tim Freer, the owner of an auto repair shop in Godfrey and REAP grant recipient. “This grant will give us long-term relief on our rising energy costs.”

“The REAP grant program was a critical factor in our decision to convert to solar energy on our golf course. The program affords us the opportunity to utilize the money we save to further invest in our facilities and grounds toward sustaining top-quality customer experience. The grant program allowed for an easy transition to clean energy. Thank you to Congresswoman Budzinski and all Members of Congress who made this program possible,” said Vern VanHoy, a local business owner based in Alton.

A breakdown of the funding awarded can be found below:

  • $306,322 to STO LLC, a golf course located in Alton
  • $253,752 to Arlington Greens, a golf course located in Granite City
  • $618,750 to Athletes in Action, a fitness center in Alton
  • $125,000 to Freer Auto Body & Accessories, an auto shop located in Godfrey
  • $242,190 to Livingston Pipe and Tube, a warehouse and machining business in Staunton
  • $17,042 to Central Illinois Optometric Associates, an Optometry office in Virden
  • $15,944 to Lolita Alward’s grain farm in Shipman
  • $24,176 to Hickory Grove Pork Farm in Gillespie
  • $172,999 to RKD Automotive, a car dealership in Alton
  • $52,953 to Stocker Farms, a grain farm in Litchfield

The Rural Energy for America Program offers guaranteed loan financing and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy-efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing. Recently, REAP secured $140 million in funding from theInflation Reduction Act. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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