The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office has issued $156,000 in renewable energy grants to 12 Maine businesses.

The grants will be used by the businesses to install solar panels to reduce their net energy usage, the office said in a news release Thursday.

Recipients include Andy’s Agway of Dayton, Avena Botanicals of Rockport, 650 Cape Road Holdings LLC of Standish, Songbird Farm LLC of Unity, Chloe Allegra Holding LLC of Eliot, Shawnee Peak Holdings LLC of Bridgton, Foreign Autoworks Inc. of Kittery, Fogtown Brewing Co. LLC of Ellsworth, Lee S. Wilbur & Co. of Southwest Harbor, 32 Lovers Lane LLC of Cushing, 487 Development Corp. LLC of Pittsfield and JR Fabrication of New Portland, it said.

“Maine business owners are the champions of economic development in rural communities, and these grants will support jobs and help ensure our rural communities are prosperous places to live,” Bette Brand, the rural business and cooperative service administrator in the Rural Development office, said in the release.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. It supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, high-speed internet access, and community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care.

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