The State of Tennessee announced two separate energy efficiency programs this week: one to assist residents in the purchase of energy efficient heating and cooling equipment, and the other to provide low interest financing to Tennessee businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits.
On Monday, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) announced the opening of the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP). The program will provide rebates on a first-come, first-served basis for the purchase of qualifying Energy Star heating and cooling appliances. The program is funded with $5.9 million in Recovery Act dollars.
Monday’s announcement of the appliance rebate program was followed by the announcement on Wednesday of a new $50 million Energy Efficiency Loan Program to help Tennessee companies finance investments in energy efficient technology, energy retrofits and renewable energy systems. The program, administered by Pathway Lending, will offer access to below-market rate loans to finance improvements aimed at reducing energy consumption, lowering overall costs and improving profitability.
These programs will lead to lower energy bills for Tennessee residents and businesses, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generate economic growth as people are put to work improving Tennessee’s energy efficiency.
The State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program offers a rebate of $250 for the air source heat pumps and central air conditioners, a rebate of $150 for gas furnaces, and a rebate of $40 for room air conditioners. All appliances must have the Energy Star designation that certifies its energy savings qualities. Purchases made on or after April 22, 2010 are eligible for the rebate.
“Assisting Tennesseans in purchasing Energy Star heating and cooling units will help people reduce their energy usage and lower their utility bills, while also having a positive impact on our environment,” said Matt Kisber, Tennessee’s Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “The Rebate Program is a welcome step in the right direction for our state’s future energy conservation initiatives.”
The estimated impacts of this program on energy consumption is impressive. Statewide, the program will save an estimated 16 million kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power almost 16,000 average US households. These energy savings translate into nearly $1.4 million in avoided annual energy costs and avoiding air emissions equal to 32 million pounds of carbon dioxide.
When combined with TVA’s In-Home Energy Evaluation Program, Tennessee residents have the opportunity to significantly reduce the upfront costs of improving their home’s energy efficiency, thereby reducing monthly utility bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The State’s Energy Efficiency Loan Program, on the other hand, is directed at Tennessee’s business community. “Our goal is to make Tennessee a true leader in sustainability and this new Energy Efficiency Loan Program will be a substantial step in that direction,” said Governor Bredesen. “By providing access to this type of financing, we are making Tennessee businesses more competitive and that means more jobs for Tennesseans.”
The program will offer below-market rate loans at 5% with terms extending to 10 years. Loans can finance up to 100 percent of the cost of building retrofits, equipment replacements or upgrades, and lighting and renewable generation projects. The program is the result of a collaborative effort between the state of Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Pathway Lending, Pinnacle Financial Partners and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
One of the more creative aspects of the program is the Shared Savings Option that allows loans to be repaid with a portion of the energy cost savings derived from each project. Once verified, the project’s energy savings determine the amount and term of the loan. Businesses may be able to retain up to 50% of their monthly energy savings, and repay the loan with the remaining percentage. This Shared Savings Option will minimize out-of-pocket expenses for the business owner and maximize the economic benefits of the program.
The program is available to any business seeking to reduce energy consumption in their Tennessee facilities, and like the residential appliance rebate program, which pairs well with TVA’s In-Home Energy Audit Program, the State’s Energy Efficient Loan Program pairs will complement TVA’s Commercial Efficiency Advice and Incentive Program.
Free informational workshops on the Energy Efficiency Loan Program will be hosted by Pathway Lending staff throughout the state in September. The first round of applications is due by November 1st.
To learn more about the Energy Efficiency Loan Program, visit www.pathwaylending.org or call (615) 425-7171.
Applications for the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program are available online at www.e-rebates.org/teearp or by phone at 1-877-741-4304.