Maine's KVCC wins 100,000 grant to help business and agricultural producers reduce energy

By Ramona du Houx - April 10th, 2012 · 

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) has been granted a $100,000 federal award to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy consumption and implement renewable energy technologies.The grant will enable KVCC to provide renewable energy development assistance for at least 140 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across Maine over the next two years.

“Work funded under this grant will support the delivery of a high level of renewable energy technical assistance to farms and small rural businesses throughout the state,” said Dana Doran, Director of Energy Programs at KVCC. “This assistance will help Maine farmers and small rural business owners save energy, improve their environment, and strengthen their bottom lines.”

KVCC is one of 10 recipients of the awards being made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

As a regional leader in renewable energy education and industry expertise, KVCC will work with Farm Energy Partners(FEP) in this effort. FEP is a network of over 30 public and private sector organizations staffed and convened by Maine Rural Partners, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing collaborative, integrated approaches to rural development.

To accommodate the wide range of farms and rural businesses across the state while recognizing that each site has unique assets, assistance will be provided in the five renewable technology areas in which KVCC has expertise – solar heating, solar photovoltaic, small wind, biomass/solid fuel, and geothermal.

KVCC will lead informational workshops at its campus and at trade shows designed to introduce renewable technologies to farmers and small rural business owners.

The College will also contribute to publicity efforts and informational materials and guides connected with the effort, and provide technical assistance via phone and email to farmers and small rural business owners.

KVCC began incorporating elements of renewable energy education in its Electrical Technology program in 1995 and has expanded its role in such education steadily over the years through both credit and non-credit courses and training programs.

KVCC now offers multiple credit and non-credit programs in renewable energy through its state-of-the art Energy Services and Technology Center, the College is at the forefront of regional education efforts in this fast-growing sector of the economy, and has gained national recognition as a leader in the field.

To learn more about renewable energy programs at KVCC, go to http://www.kvcc.me.edu/energyservices/