The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take new steps to save consumers money on their energy bills in partnership with rural electric cooperatives. It plans to provide rural electric cooperatives up to $250 million to lend to business and residential customers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.
The program will help build a cleaner and more sustainable domestic energy sector for future generations by reducing barriers to investment in energy efficiency and potentially cutting energy bills for families and businesses in the process. Although energy efficiency measures can reduce home energy use considerably, many consumers and businesses do not invest in them because they lack the capital or financing to do so.
Funding will be provided to rural electric cooperatives and utilities which will then re-lend the money to help homeowners or businesses make energy efficiency improvements. In addition to energy audits, the loans may be used for upgrades to heating, lighting, and insulation, as well as conversions to more efficient or renewable energy sources.