Gas Station, Convenience Store Chain Owner Invests In Solar Power


Sunday, December 26th 2021, 9:52 pm


TULSA, Oklahoma -

An Oklahoma business owner says he's switching his stores to solar power after the federal government invested millions of dollars in rural communities.

The US Department of Agriculture says the investments are part of an effort to fight climate change.

The owner of the Woodshed convenience store and truck stop chain Rick Wood says he's one of the first people in northeast Oklahoma to start making such a big investment in solar.

He says federal funds this year could let him take his first store completely off the grid.

Gas stations with all their lights and pumps can be some of the biggest consumers of electricity in their area - and four years ago Rick Wood wanted to cut back.

"Our demand for [electricity] with our population growth .... is growing. And we've got to come up with a way to do this."

His solution was solar power- and a lot of it.

"So we've been slowly but surely doing it everywhere. All of our stores and it's saving quite a bit of money," Wood said.

"There are all kinds of benefits. For solar, the federal government, they actually give you the grant to do it."

The USDA's Rural Energy for America program is giving the Woodshed of Big Cabin a nearly $90,000 grant to install a solar array.

"They're really wanting to encourage people to do this," Wood said.

Those panels alone will save nearly $30,000 a year in energy costs - enough energy to power 29 homes.

Beyond the immediate benefits in cost for his business - Wood says with an increase in rural energy demand it's the right thing to do.

"I think it's a good idea to figure out an alternative way to get your electricity," he said.

Wood believes in 2022 there will likely be even more opportunities for businesses like his to take advantage of federal green-energy grants and tax credits.