Reno business receives funding from Rural Energy for America Program

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:14 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Biden-Harris Administration is investing $266 million to help rural business owners as part of the Investing in America Agenda.

Secretary Tom Vilsack with the Department of Agriculture announced that they are awarding loans and grants to agriculture producers as well as rural small businesses to make investments in renewable energy and improvements that will lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operation.

Kevin Cook, the CTO of IC Breakout LLC of Reno, manufactures and designs custom circuit boards based off each customer’s needs. Cook says he enjoys the idea of high tech manufacturing but with onsite renewable sources.

“They have an idea, we’ll design it, we’ll build it, and we’ll send it to them and they put it into something,” Cook says.

Cook started his career off in robotics and engineering but decided to go into business for himself around 2014. Most of the grants given out by the Rural Energy for America Program went to agriculture based businesses, making Cook’s business unique. Cook built his business on the same plot of land he resides on. When thinking about where he wanted to be he thought northern Nevada was perfect because he wanted a lot of space. IC Breakout LLC sits on 80 acres of land right in the Palomino Valley, South of Pyramid Lake.

The site is completely off grid. Cook says there’s no NV Energy sources for 5 miles so he runs the grounds completely off solar and batteries. Currently he needs more storage for power, and that’s where the grant comes in. Next to his workspace sits a storage room filled from floor to ceiling with repurposed Nissan Leaf car batteries. The batteries work to power his home and operations. Cook says, its time for an upgrade, and with the upgrade equals more power and more work that can be done.

For now Cook focuses on small volume and quick turns. The grant funds will continue to help him grow and boost rural opportunities in the clean energy economy.