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four groceries in appalachian kentucky receive usda grants to save energy

 

September 12, 2011

 

Berea, Ky — Four groceries in eastern Kentucky have received grant awards from the USDA Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) for projects that will save energy and money. The four groceries are Justice Quality Foods in Pike County, Long’s PicPac Galaxy Market in Bell County, Martin Food World in Floyd County, and Neon Food World in Letcher County.

 

The Quality Foods store located in McCarr plans to install a refrigeration compressor rack and waste heat recovery system. Long’s PicPac will install LED lighting in its glass door cases. Martin Food World and Neon Food World are upgrading to more energy efficient fluorescent lighting.

 

These four grocers applied for the grants with assistance from the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), a nonprofit working to create economic opportunities in eastern Kentucky. MACED Energy Specialist Joshua Bills completed energy assessments detailing the estimated energy and dollar savings of the projects, and MACED’s Enterprise Development team helped the grantees complete their federal applications.

 

“It was a pleasure to work with MACED and staff on our project. They came in, assessed our energy usage and ways we could save with no agenda in trying to sell us a product. The communication and grant process was flawless,” said Mike Long of Long’s PicPac Galaxy Market. “Our department has never looked better with the lighting installed as well as a projected payback on our portion of less than three years. The icing on the cake is our customers’ comments.”

 

When asked about getting a grant through the USDA REAP program, David Whitaker of Neon Food World replied, “I am so grateful to be approved… this grant will help pay for upgrades, which will ultimately reduce our monthly electricity costs in spite of the 26 percent electric rate increase that our store experienced in 2010.”

 

In total, more than 900 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across America were awarded grants by REAP. In Kentucky, Rural Development State Director Tom Fern said REAP is helping many agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption. “This funding will create green jobs and help Kentucky’s producers and businesses improve their energy efficiency,” said Fern.

 

Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. Grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project’s cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewable energy projects or $250,000 for efficiency.