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USDA awards grants to assist businesses with renewable energy

By Staff | Nov 21, 2013


HILO – Chris J. Kanazawa, state director for USDA Rural Development, announced the selection of three businesses in Hawaii – two from Maui – to receive Rural Energy for America (REAP) Grants totaling $120,000.

“These awards clearly demonstrate the Obama administration’s effort to create a clean energy economy,” stated Kanazawa, state director for Hawaii and the Western Pacific.

“The REAP will enable owners of rural businesses, farms and ranches to develop renewable energy systems and improve energy efficiency to save thousands of kilowatt hours of energy annually.”

Aumakua Holdings Inc. d.b.a. Maui Brewing Co. will receive $20,000 to purchase 16 photovoltaic parking lot light fixtures for the future site of the company’s brewpub operations in the Maui Research and Technology Park.

Aumakua Holdings, incorporated in 2006, is a small regional craft brewery located on Maui. Sustainability and local agriculture are among the company’s founding principles.

Maui Brewing Co. brews several beers throughout the year using local agriculture products and always looks to support the local community in many ways. The company currently has 15 employees.

According to the company, the photovoltaic system will help further drive the company’s initiative as a “Green Brewery” and provide substantial electrical savings, which will allow them to remain competitive in the market and provide for additional job creation.

Maui Brewing Co. owner Garrett Marrero said, “We are honored to be selected as a grant recipient; this will allow us to further strengthen our commitment to sustainability. The solar powered lot lighting is a critical component of our project demonstrating the off-grid capabilities of lot lighting.”

Kahului Service Inc. d.b.a. Lloyd’s Kahului Chevron will receive $39,849 to purchase a 31.9-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system for the family owned service station established in 1989.

The company employs ten people and serves the local community with gasoline, propane, vehicle safety inspections and automobile maintenance.

Co-owner and Vice President Roberta Yamamoto stated, “We would like to thank USDA Rural Development for providing us with this opportunity to venture into sun power as a source for renewable energy.

“Without the grant, it would have been financially difficult. We look forward to the operational phase of consuming less fossil fuel energy and doing our part to help save the Earth from further global warming.”

The system is expected to generate 60,874 kilowatt hours per year and save the company about $24,350 annually in electricity costs.

AOK Enterprises Inc. will receive $60,151 to purchase and install a 115.5 kW ground-mounted photovoltaic solar system for AOK Enterprises Inc. – which houses two subsidiary businesses, Volcano’s Lava Rock Caf and Kilauea General Store – in Volcano, Hawaii.