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Renewable energy loans available to state residents

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced this past week the availability of $176.5 million in loan guarantees and $11.4 million in grants to support investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and small businesses.

“Secretary Johann’s announc-ement comes at a good time and I encourage rural business owners and farmers in Tennessee to consider the many ways they could save money and improve their bottom line while helping the environment by taking advantage of this unique funding opportunity,” Rural Develop-ment State Director Mary Ruth Tackett said. “Last year in Tennessee five businesses were able to use energy efficiency grants to reduce their energy consumption, which reduces costs and helps them stay competitive in the global marketplace, and we would like to see even more seize this opportunity this year.”

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency loan and grant program provides loan guarantees and grants to both rural businesses and agricultural producers for the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems or to help them make energy efficiency improvements to their existing operations.

Loan guarantees cover up to 50 percent of a project’s cost, up to $10 million. Grants are available for up to 25 percent of a project’s cost, up to $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements and up to $500,000 for renewable energy systems.

Eligible projects include those that promote energy savings through improved efficiency or derive energy from a wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal source, or hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. Awards are made on a nationally competitive basis for the purchase of renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.

As business and farmers implement renewable energy-producing and energy-saving projects these loans and grants are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.97 million metric tons, replace 821 million barrels of foreign oil and generate almost two million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. USDA has funded more than 800 loans and grants since the renewable energy program began in fiscal year 2003 as part of the 2002 Farm Bill.

Submissions for grant-only applications must be completed and postmarked no later than May 18 to the Rural Development State Office.

Deadline for submitting loan-only as well as loan and grant combination applications is July 2.

For information on how to apply for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy loans or grants by the May 18 deadline or to receive additional information about Rural Development’s other business programs, contact Larry Mason in the Rural Development Area Office in Knoxville at 865-523-3338 ext. 4.

or call toll free 800-342-3149 ext. 1491. Infor-mation is also available online at

The full Notice of Funding Announcement is also available in the Federal Register online at


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