The new energy efficiency loan program is aligned with USDA’s Rural Economic Development Energy Efficiency (REDEEE) effort, which is designed to create jobs in the energy efficiency industry and builds upon the work that Rural Development has done in providing funding and support for improving the energy efficiency of single and multi-family housing, businesses, farms, and utility companies.

Vilsack said rural electric cooperatives’ experience demonstrates that energy efficiency measures can help address growing electricity demand and significantly reduce energy use. He warned that business and residential consumers may not invest in energy efficiency or renewable energy systems because they lack access to capital or financing. This new loan program is designed to expand access to energy efficiency funding.

The first loans awarded are expected to provide up to $6 million for North Carolina’s Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation to finance improvements to HVAC Systems, appliance replacements, and building improvements for an average of 200 residential energy efficiency upgrades per year over four years. The loans are designed to help reduce energy costs and improve the services within Roanoke’s service territory, which includes both poverty and out-migration counties.