LEWES, Dela. – Delaware-based Atlantic Millwork & Cabinetry, a manufacturer of cabinetry, millwork, doors, and windows, hosted U.S. Senator Tom Carper and Kathy Beisner, the director for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Maryland and Delaware, for a tour of the company’s manufacturing facility and new solar energy system.

"Small businesses like Atlantic Millwork & Cabinetry are the backbone of America's economy," Carper said. "Federal grant programs like this one from USDA Rural Development help our nation's small businesses make investments that allow them to become more energy efficient and boost their bottom line at the same time. That's what I like to call a win-win."

Atlantic’s solar energy system, made possible with a grant from Rural Energy for America Program covering 25 percent of the cost, features 550 panels and 143 kilowatts. The system provides almost 90 percent of their required electricity. It’s taken them nearly off the grid.

“The move made business sense, the savings in electricity, the funding from the USDA Rural development, and tax benefits made sense,” said Atlantic President Mark Woodruff. “When you take all those variables into account the system will pay for itself in six years. Not to mention it’s beneficial to the environment in our local community.”

The energy grant program has been around since 2002. 55 Delaware businesses have participated.