USDA approves energy grant for Fernley manufacturer
USDA Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler announced a Fernley-based building materials manufacturer is approved for a Rural Energy for America Program grant to assist with the purchase and installation of a roof-mounted 499 kW solar photovoltaic system.
“This grant to Fortifiber marks the largest REAP Grant yet in Nevada,” Adler said. “USDA welcomes the opportunity to support green energy in rural areas, while helping hard-working Nevada businesses control their energy costs. This reduces C02 emissions by over a million pounds annually as compared to traditional electricity. That makes it a win-win for business and the environment.”
At the Fernley location, Fortifiber produces Jumbo Tex, an asphalt saturated kraft paper often referred to as “tar paper,” a product used to keep moisture out of buildings. The company has operated from its Fernley location since 1994 and currently has 64 employees nationwide, with 55 in Nevada.
Chris Yount, the president and third-generation owner of the company, said the funding will make Fortifiber more competitive in its market, where it sells its materials nationwide to a network of wholesale distributors.
“This is a win for Fortifiber and our customers. The solar power system will allow us to stabilize our energy cost and reduce our carbon footprint — which customers like,” Yount said.
The system will generate an estimated 886,681 kWh of renewable energy annually, replacing 39 percent of the plant’s electricity needs. Cost savings are estimated to be more than $86,000 annually. According to the U.S Energy Information Service, 1.21 pounds of CO2 are produced per kWh of electricity generated from natural gas. This new system is projected to reduce CO2 into the environment by more than a million pounds annually.
Hamilton Solar, the contractor on the project is currently installing 1,790 solar panels on the roof of the plant.
The REAP program can fund up to 25 percent of the total project costs for rural businesses or agricultural producers to develop renewable energy systems like Fortifiber’s solar system — or install more energy efficiency equipment — such as new HVAC systems, new insulation, or new lighting. The program accepts applications year-round; the next deadline for grants of $20,000 or less is Oct. 31. For more information, contact Mark Williams at 775-887-1222, ext. 116.