The new Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) will make $52 million in loans available to energy providers to help rural families and small businesses reduce their energy use.
"Investments like the ones we will make through the Rural Energy Savings Program not only reduce energy costs for consumers, but also build a cleaner and more sustainable energy future," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This program is the latest of many financing options USDA provides to rural communities to expand energy efficiency efforts and strengthen rural economies."
RESP will provide loans to rural energy providers who in turn fund projects for consumers to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes or businesses that will lower their energy use. Eligible applicants include current and former Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers, subsidiaries of current or former RUS borrowers, and entities that provide retail electric service in rural areas.
RESP borrowers finance loans at zero percent interest for up to 20 years, making the program an attractive and affordable option to finance energy-saving measures. Energy customers participating in programs financed through RESP then repay the loans at an interest rate of up to 3% for up to 10 years through their electric bills.
Congress authorized the program in the 2014 Farm Bill. RUS administers RESP as well as the similar Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program (EECLP). RESP is open to a broader pool of eligible borrowers, has a zero percent interest rate, and has a longer loan term than EECLP. To be considered for RESP funding, applicants should submit a letter of intent by August 5, 2016. E-mail the letter of intent to mailto:RESP@wdc.usda.gov. Applications will be processed on a first-come/first-served basis until funds are expended. For additional information, see page 40262 of the June 21 Federal Register.