Energy loans designed to deliver savings, spur economy
Efficiency Vermont announced this week a suite of changes to its loan programs in direct response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes make more money available to help residents and businesses move forward with energy efficiency projects and support Vermont businesses during this time of economic uncertainty.
“At a time when so many Vermonters have lost work and businesses are struggling to restart, affordable financing options can provide a bridge that allows energy projects to move ahead, saving customers money on bills and stimulating economic activity,” said Efficiency Vermont Director Rebecca Foster. “We’ve redesigned our financing offers to help make sure that customers get all the support they need to complete efficiency projects and help our state’s retailers, distributors, and contractors get back to work.”
Efficiency Vermont estimates that the changes to the loan programs will contribute to more than $2 million of investment in energy efficiency projects and equipment between now and the end of 2020. In addition to the financing updates, Efficiency Vermont will be announcing new incentive programs in the coming weeks to help farmers, residential customers, businesses, and nonprofits reduce their energy use and save money.
Efficiency Vermont’s Home Energy Loan is available for a variety of energy efficiency projects, from purchasing new appliances, to installing heat pumps or an advanced wood heating system, to home weatherization projects. In addition to buying down interest rates to 0% for low- and moderate-income customers and below market rate for higher-income customers, Efficiency Vermont will now cover the first six months of loan payments (up to $900).
“We are excited to partner with Efficiency Vermont to help our customers free up their money through energy savings,” said Ludy Biddle, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont Executive Director -- one of three lending partners working with Efficiency Vermont. “By having the first several loan payments covered, the money customers save on energy can be spent on other priorities. It’s critical help in a difficult economic time.”
In addition to NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, The Home Energy Loans are also available through Opportunities Credit Union and VSECU. Loan approvals are expected to happen within two days of applying. This offer is available through Oct. 31.
Efficiency Vermont understands that cash flow is a top concern for small- and medium-sized businesses even in the best economic times. As business customers seek to restart after months of being shut down, that concern is amplified. To address this, Efficiency Vermont is offering payment deferrals for up to four months for its Business Energy Loan. Interest rates from 3.5%-5.5% are available on loan amounts of up to $50,000, with as little as $0 down payment.
By deferring payments, businesses can generate energy savings that go right to their bottom lines for four months, and loans can often be structured so that payments are covered by the monthly energy savings going forward.
“We have heard from a number of small businesses who are anxious to help contractors get back to work as soon as they have the financial wherewithal to invest in projects,” said Gregory Huysman of VSECU, Efficiency Vermont’s lending partner for the Business Energy Loan program. “By making Business Energy Loans straightforward and affordable through our partnership with Efficiency Vermont, businesses will have another tool to turn that community spirit into action.”
Businesses -- including farms, non-profits, and owners of multifamily rental housing -- can use the Business Energy Loan for a wide range of energy efficiency improvements, some of the most popular of which include:
- Heat pumps
- Insulation and air sealing
- Maple sugaring equipment
- HVAC system upgrades
- Refrigeration upgrades
The Business Energy Loan is available now to qualified customers through the end of 2020.
About Efficiency Vermont
As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 12.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program for sustained excellence award for the last six consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at www.efficiencyvermont.com.
Phone: (802) 540-7662