NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture could help small rural businesses and farms switch to renewable energy. A presentation was held at ACE Hardware in New Middletown to discuss solar panels and how residents could get them on their property.

The Renewable Energy for America Grant Program (REAP) is attempting to help small rural business owners and farmers. It could help save up to 40% of a project’s cost for renewable energy.

Daniel Quinlan spoke to about his company ACE Solar, which installs solar panels.

“There’s also a federal tax credit for income tax that’s up to 40%,” Quinlan said. “Currently, it’s up to 30%.”

This means up to 80% of the total cost of the project can be saved.

“Really, one of the big benefits is fixing your energy cost over time,” Quinlan said. “Then, you’re really reducing, helping the environment and reducing the burden on the utility grid.”

Drone video shared from ACE Hardware in New Middletown shows the business’s roof solar panels. Quinlan said they cover most of the store’s electricity needs.

“We definitely have cloud cover, but the sun still rises and sets here,” Quinlan says. “We can still produce power even with cloudy weather.”

Quinlan says the panels would have to be bigger in Northeast Ohio compared to those in Florida. He used an example of a project in Mechanicstown, Ohio, in 2018.

Back then, with the grant and tax credit, a $77,000 project cost the buyer over $34,000. Now, the same price project would cost just over $23,000.

“Reduce the cost of ownership for either a business or a farm so that they can hopefully be more sustainable in the community,” Quinlan said.

Those interested in the grant can reach out to ACE Solar at 800-223-1462. Approved projects would only cost applicants $750.

Those interested in learning more about the New Middletown Village Ace Hardware project can call 330-542-2802.