Lewistown News-Argus: $132,000 from Inflation Reduction Act to fund renewable energy development projects in Central Montana
As a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, $1,375,897 in United States Department of Agriculture funding has been secured for 35 renewable energy infrastructure projects across Montana. Over $130,000 of that money will fund projects in Central Montana.
The Inflation Reduction Act increased REAP grant amounts and increased program funding by $820 million through Fiscal Year 2031 (FY31). The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses install renewable energy infrastructure or improve their energy efficiency.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to support the legislation. He has been a longstanding supporter of the REAP program, which runs through USDA Rural Development.
“Montanans know we need to increase energy production here in our state, which is why I fought to secure investments like this to help ensure folks have reliable access to affordable energy,” said Tester. “We’ve got more work to do, but these investments will create good paying Montana jobs, lower costs for families, and ensure we can keep the lights on for generations to come.”
Recipients in Central Montana include:
$8,980 in Hilger — This Rural Development investment will be used by Sarah Lee Leonard to purchase and install a 5.34 kilowatt (kW) ground mounted solar photovoltaic system for an agricultural business near Hilger, Montana. This project will offset energy costs, generate an annual cost savings of more than $3,100, and replace 27 percent of the business’ energy needs, saving enough energy to power one home.
$29,950 in Judith Gap — This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and install a 28.16 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system at the El Peterson Ranch in Judith Gap, Montana. The equipment will help offset loads generated by the ranch, create an annual cost savings of more than $5,000, and conserve 34,733 kilowatt hours (kW), enough electricity to power three small homes.
$12,152 in Lewistown — This Rural Development investment will be used to assist Skylark PLLC, in Lewistown, Montana, install a 11.0 kilowatt (kW) ground mounted solar photovoltaic system that will be used for 100 percent of the business’ energy consumption. This rural small business, which creates custom computer software and programs, will see a total power generation of 14,112 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is enough to power one home and will save the business $1,259.00 annually.
$49,218 in Ryegate — This Rural Development investment will be used to install a 50 kW ground mount solar photovoltaic array for the Ryegate Bar & Café, in Ryegate, Montana. This project will help this rural small business save more than $10,000 in annual energy costs and replace more than 77,000 kWh in annual energy consumption.
$31,948 in Stanford — This Rural Development investment will be used to make energy efficiency improvements to the building owned by Danielle Weaver, owner/operator of Wolves Den Pharmacy in Stanford, Montana. These improvements will save $4,925 in annual energy costs, or 51 percent of what she is currently paying. The electricity saved will be enough to power one home for a year.