Grants fuel solar energy projects

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Dozens of farms and small businesses in Tennessee have received Agriculture Department grants to develop solar power systems that can contribute to local energy grids.

According to a department report, the Rural Energy for America Program has paid $6.5 million in grants and loans to Tennessee farms, ranches and rural small businesses in the past three years.

The Tennessean reports that 69 of Tennessee's 98 grants and loans have gone to solar projects. Recipients include a custom saddler in Lebanon, a native species nursery in Fairview and a recreational team-building center in Kingston Springs.

A grant recipient says that without government funding, few small renewable-energy projects would be affordable.

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