An Oklahoma business owner says he’s switching his stores to solar power after the federal government invests millions of dollars in rural communities.
The US Department of Agriculture says the investments are part of an effort to fight climate change.
Woodshed convenience store and truck stop owner Rick Wood says he’s one of the first people in northeast Oklahoma to start investing so much in solar power.
He says federal funds this year could allow him to completely remove his first store from the network.
Gas stations with all their lights and pumps can be some of the biggest consumers of electricity in their area – and four years ago Rick Wood wanted to cut back.
“Our request for [electricity] with our population growth …. increases. And we have to find a way to do it. “
His solution was solar power and a lot of solar power.
âSo we’ve been doing it slowly but surely everywhere. All of our stores and it’s saving us quite a bit of money,â said Wood.
“There are all kinds of benefits. For solar power, the federal government actually gives you the grant to do it.”
USDA’s Rural Energy for America program gives the Woodshed of Big Cabin a grant of nearly $ 90,000 to install a solar panel.
âThey really want to encourage people to do this,â said Wood.
These panels alone will save almost $ 30,000 per year in energy costs – enough energy to power 29 homes.
Beyond the immediate cost benefits to his business – Wood says that with increasing demand for rural energy, it’s the right thing to do.
âI think it’s a good idea to find another way to get your electricity,â he said.
Wood believes that in 2022 there will likely be even more opportunities for companies like his to take advantage of federal green energy grants and tax credits.