Alabama businesses are saving $5.1 million in estimated annual energy costs because of a state financing program launched two years ago – the AlabamaSAVES loan program.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs created the AlabamaSAVES program to provide state businesses with low-cost loans for energy-efficiency upgrades. Loans of $50,000 to $4 million are available to help Alabama commercial and industrial businesses finance energy-saving improvements. Interest rates for the loans are currently as low as 1 percent.
Since awarding the first loan in June 2011, AlabamaSAVES has approved more than $20 million in loans for energy upgrades. The program recently approved its 30th loan. The program’s 30th loan is going to the same business that applied for the first loan: the Dixie Group’s yarn plant in Roanoke, which manufactures a wide variety of carpets and rugs.
Dixie officials say the initial $2.3 million loan enabled equipment upgrades and cost savings that increased the plant’s capacity, stimulated growth and created jobs. The new $1.4 million loan will finance additional high-efficiency equipment to increase productivity even further.
A range of businesses across the state have taken advantage of AlabamaSAVES loans, including large and small industrial companies, office buildings, hotels and retail businesses.
ADECA established AlabamaSAVES with funds made available to the state by the US Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. Projects are evaluated on potential for sustainable energy savings, cost savings, renewable energy generation, emissions reductions and job creation and retention. As loans are repaid, the fund will be replenished and available to finance future projects.
Abundant Power, a firm that collaborates with states and municipalities to design, administer and finance energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs, is helping ADECA administer AlabamaSAVES. The firm has been instrumental in increasing the initial loan pool from $25 million to $65 million by forming partnerships with private lenders, including Regions Bank, ServisFirst Bank, First Commercial Bank, Wells Fargo and Philips Lighting Capital.
In July, the State of Alabama announced it has saved nearly $4 million by cutting energy costs at state government agencies. The savings reported for 2012 came following a December 2011 Executive Order issued by the governor, requiring state facilities to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent from 2005 levels – by 2015.
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