The community college and nonprofit Spark Northwest will help rural growers lower costs, build business

Clackamas Community College has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help rural farmers discover what solar, wind, water or bioenergy is available on their property.

With the Rural Energy for American Program, CCC is partnering with nonprofit Spark Northwest to offer free grant writing and technical assistance so farmers can invest in renewable energy.

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The USDA sees a need to help farmers stay solvent in their businesses. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can help to save thousands of farms and help them become successful by providing a funding source when times are tough and growth when times are good.

"As the son of a wheat and cattle farmer, I understand some of the struggles of running a farm business," said Abe Fouhy, CCC's renewable energy and alternative fuel instructor. "We want to help make rural businesses more solvent by reducing costs and creating a new revenue stream."

This program is designed to help farmers get funding from the USDA, which will give them the opportunity to access up to $25 million per project with 25% in grant funding and 75% government-subsidized loans to install renewable energy or energy efficiency on their property.

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To qualify, farmers must receive a renewable energy plan and/or energy efficiency plan, which Clackamas Community College and Spark Northwest are offering for free.

A representative from CCC's renewable energy program, along with CCC students, will perform an analysis of the farmer's property and create a plan on how to implement a renewable energy system. The plan will include technical layouts and designs, as well as a list of contractors.

Then, Spark Northwest will assist in the grant writing process from start to finish.

To learn more and apply, visit The application and energy analysis are free. For more information, contact Teri Olsen, TAPS grant coordinator, at 503-594-3194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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