Arts & Entertainment, Small Business & Startups, and Sustainability

Grant helps Fennville pottery studio become more sustainable

October 30, 2012
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Grant helps Fennville pottery studio become more sustainable
Khnemu Studio is the working studio of ceramic artist Dawn Soltysiak and a handmade pottery gallery, featuring work made by regional and national artists. Courtesy Khnemu Studio

A Fennville pottery studio was one of 15 small businesses and farms in Michigan to receive funding from the federal government to increase its energy sustainability.

Khnemu Studio received $12,598 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program to install a Solar Array System. The grant will cover 25 percent of the project cost.

“I’ve been interested in figuring out ways to be more sustainable and to offset my energy costs, because pottery kilns use a lot of energy,” said Dawn Soltysiak, owner of Khnemu Studio.

Soltysiak originally began looking into wind energy as a solution, but soon learned that a solar energy system was actually a more viable option. She expects that the payback on the grant will take five years.

“After that my energy costs are going to be pretty much totally offset,” Soltysiak said.

REAP is a program that offers both loan guarantees and grants to small businesses and farms located in rural areas, and was established following President Obama’s call for 80 percent of America’s electricity to come from clean sources by 2035.

A total of 244 farms and small businesses located in rural America were awarded REAP grants this month, totaling $16 million.

Soltysiak encourages other small business owners to look into grant options that might be available to them, saying that it is worth the effort. Her grant application totaled more than 90 pages once completed and took many hours of work.

“I was terribly excited to get it,” she said.

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