The RUS Electric Program recently established a loan program to help electric cooperatives reach out to consumers and businesses. In a News Release dated October 23, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA had funded its first two loans under the new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program, which is designed to help consumers reduce energy bills through energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program will allow borrowers to implement energy efficiency upgrades for consumers through the use of loan funds for such things as Energy Audits, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Weatherization, Ground Source Heat Pumps, Consumer-scale Renewable power, HVAC Improvements, and High Efficiency Lighting.
The RUS Electric Program provided $6 million in loan funds to North Carolina's Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation for improvements to HVAC Systems, appliance replacements, and building envelope improvements for an average of 200 residential energy efficiency upgrades per year over four years. These loans will help reduce energy costs and improvements within Roanoke's service territory, which includes both poverty and out-migration counties.
In addition, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. was approved for a $4.6 million loan to fund geothermal and air source installations, energy efficiency lightning, and weatherization measures, including Energy Star® windows and doors, insulation, efficient water heaters, and roofing. RUS Electric Program financing will reduce costs for Arkansas consumers and further provide improvements within Arkansas’ service territory.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program helps promote rural economic growth while reducing greenhouse gases, which allows USDA to support the President’s Climate Action Plan. For additional information, please visit the RUS Electric Program Website or contact your local GFR.