Tall Foods, a rural small business in San Miguel County, on the USDA RD REAP program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant allowed us to achieve our early dream of seeking to be carbon neutral and as close as possible to 100 percent on renewable energy. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for us to navigate through the grant application because the solar company we worked with was so well versed in the process and did much of the paper pushing for us. We are so happy with our solar energy and the fact that our largest bill this summer has been $21, a cost we can afford as startup farmers.
What tools, resources or financing did you use to establish your project?
We used the REAP grant through USDA as a farming operation. We had to apply twice, but we were awarded the full amount in our second application.
What benefits have you realized?
The ability to brand our business with solar as a component of our environmental stewardship is a great benefit, and we have had extremely affordable bills, or credit to our account, for the energy we are producing.
What challenges did you overcome to implement your project?
Other than paperwork and ensuring we had the startup funds to pay for the solar, we were so happy with the company we worked with and the subsidies received through the REAP program and other tax deductions.
What advice would you give neighboring communities who are trying to implement a similar project?
It is totally worth it, and there are a lot of options when it comes to solar companies doing great work. Go solar! It's a fantastic asset and helps us further our brand and environmental commitments.