Three Rivers Farm – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Nathan – Pittsburgh, PA

Three Rivers Grown ( helps bring fresh, locally grown produce to the marketplace in a sustainable way. Nathan Holmes is the owner and founder of the business and knew early on that he wanted to help local farmers while fueling economic development in his community. 

 As a Pittsburgh-based wholesale distributor, Three Rivers Grown stores fresh produce in its warehouse to ensure products get to the marketplace at desired temperatures. But fronting the electrical costs for the operation became a daunting task. With the help of a $20,000 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant, solar panels were installed on the roof of their distribution center. 

 “The fact that there was this program to help you access these funds and pay off the initial investment faster motivated me to do it,” Holmes said. 

 So far, the project is projected to save the business $12,000 a year in electric bills and replace 37,368 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power three homes annually. The savings will allow Three Rivers Grownto continue helping others access local produce and supporting farmers throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a cause that is important to the community. 

 “There are really passionate farmers that want to feed their families and they want to farm organically, and they’ve been passionate about it for a long time,” Holmes said. 

 REAP provides guaranteed loan grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements.  

 Anyone interested can utilize Solar United Neighbors (SUN)’s Ready, Set, Solar! REAP Program. The 10-week program walks farmers and rural small business owners through the REAP application process. 

 “SUN is dedicated to helping anyone who’s overwhelmed by the prospect of going solar with real life examples, credible information, and personalized experience,” said Anya Schoolman, Solar United Neighbors Executive Director.