The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs announced a reduction in the Alabama SAVES program’s minimum loan amount. Business owners can now apply for a $50,000 minimum amount, down from the prior minimum of $250,000.
This was done in an effort to give more Alabama businesses the chance to make upgrades that will save energy, reduce expenses and boost employment opportunities, according to ADECA.
Pete Storey, Childersburg Chamber director, said he received word of the changes through the East Alabama Regional Planning Commission. He said he believed several area businesses could take advantage of the loans.
“A lot of these businesses are in older buildings,” Storey said. “I think the ones that need to look at it are smaller businesses, especially in the older buildings. They have loans for upgrades in heating and air, windows and doors, electrical systems and those kinds of things. I think it would be a huge savings for them.”
Storey said the loans, available with 2 percent interest rates, could help businesses save money through energy cost reductions. He said he believed many businesses may already be looking at projects similar to the ones eligible for the program.
“I think it is a great opportunity for any business, including the smaller businesses, to take a look at,” he said.
ADECA director Jim Byard Jr. said the new minimum could open the program to smaller companies wishing to make upgrades to their facilities.
“ADECA established Alabama SAVES to help state businesses finance energy-saving improvements, reduce operating expenses and create work for Alabamians,” Byard said. “We heard from many business operators interested in smaller loans so they could take advantage of the program. To meet this demand, we revised the program to reduce the minimum loan size.”
The $60 million loan fund was established in December with funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. Loans of up to $4 million are available through the program to help finance energy-saving improvements. According to ADECA, the energy savings generated by the improvements will be greater than loan repayments, meaning extra money to help businesses compete, retain workers and create jobs.
Other listed projects eligible for loans included upgrades to energy-efficient equipment like water heating systems, energy management systems and lighting and insulation.
“Installations of renewable energy systems, such as those powered by biomass or solar energy, also are eligible,” the release stated. “Projects will be evaluated on potential for job creation and retention, sustainable energy savings, cost savings, renewable energy generation capacity and emissions reductions.”
The loans can cover up to 100 percent of project costs. The department announced that as loans are repaid, the fund would be replenished and available to finance future projects.
The program is co-managed by Abundant Power, a firm that partners with states and municipalities to design, administer and finance energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
For more information, go to www.alabamasaves.com.
Contact Matt Quillen at firstname.lastname@example.org.