Local projects get grant funding for solar projects

Two local businesses in Reedley, Fowler net funds from massive spending plan by Biden Administration to further solar energy projects

(Soonthorn on Adobe Stock)
Derek Fleming
Published July 4, 2024  • 
9:00 am

FRESNO COUNTY – A significant investment in renewable energy projects has led to two local businesses receiving grants to build significant solar production in Reedley and Fowler.

Through a program known as the Rural Energy for America Project, or REAP, California Growers, LLC, and Sunny Truck and RV Wash have received grant funds to erect solar energy projects. The combined projects will allow the two businesses to significantly reduce energy costs and allow for greater flexibility in local grid draw.

The largest of the two projects will be a solar panel project placed on the roof of the California Growers packing house in Reedley. The grant will provide $712,994 to build the project. When completed, the solar project will provide up to 873,192 kilowatt-hours annually, enough to provide power for 82 homes. 

The project at Sunny Truck and RV Wash received less funds, totaling just $63,298, which is only to help offset the cost of construction and purchase of the solar photovoltaic panels. The completed system will provide 64,186 kWh annually, enough to power five homes. This system will help reduce the costs associated with operating the truck wash which is a high energy use business. 

The funds are coming from a federal push by the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris titled Investing in Rural America through the Inflation Reduction Act. Across the nation, the REAP program is providing $145 million in grant funding to more than 700 projects. Fifteen projects are located in California. 

The REAP program is just one part of the Investing in Rural America program. In Oct. 2023, Biden and Harris announced more than $5 billion in grants to improve rural America. The grants will fund things such as high-speed internet access, climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy projects and rural economic development programs. 

The administration promoted the grant program as the largest investment in rural America since the New Deal, which was a program in response to the Great Depression under President Franklin D. Roosevelt that led to several massive works projects such as the Hoover Dam. 

In May 2024, Biden announced funding of additional grants for rural communities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, a massive $65 billion spending plan that will target clean drinking water projects, road construction and clean energy projects. Around $1 billion will be spent in an effort to support agricultural markets to help rural dairies, meat processors and small businesses by introducing more competition. 

According to a fact sheet produced by The White House, four meat packers control 85% of the supply in the U.S. which harms ranchers by limiting options and artificially reducing prices while also harming consumers by artificially increasing the price paid at the store. The goal of the program will be to encourage the development of processors to break up the dominance of large corporate meat packers, thereby allowing farmers to get better rates and reducing the cost consumers pay.

Derek Fleming