The federal government is helping a Columbiana County farmer “go green” with a grant to pay for solar panels.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program granted Edward Schaefer $29,733 to purchase and install a 17.82-kilowatt roof-mounted solar array at his small farm in Salem.

This project is expected to save $2,252 in annual energy costs and offset nearly 113 percent of Schaefer’s yearly energy use.

It’s one of 40 projects in Ohio receiving USDA investments in renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

The projects will help Ohio farmers and small businesses lower energy costs, generate additional income, and strengthen resiliency in their operations. 

Although every township in Columbiana County has banned large solar or wind operations, the bans don’t impact small green energy projects.