The agency will make $52 million in loans available to energy providers to help rural families and small businesses reduce their energy use, agency Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
“Investments like the ones we will make through the Rural Energy Savings Program not only reduce energy costs for consumers, but also build a cleaner and more sustainable energy future,” Vilsack said. “This program is the latest of many financing options USDA provides to rural communities to expand energy efficiency efforts and strengthen rural economies.”
José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, said RESP provides loans to rural energy providers who in turn fund projects for consumers to decrease their energy use or costs.
Eligible applicants include current and former Rural Utilities (RUS) borrowers, subsidiaries of current or formers RUS borrower, and entities that provide retail electric service in rural areas.
In the past, a number of Puerto Rico public- and private-sector entities — Ana G. Méndez, Fundación Sila María Calderón, Fundación Para Puerto Rico, private schools and municipalities — have received RUS loans and could be eligible for this new funding opportunity.
RESP borrowers may finance loans at 0 percent interest for up to 20 years, making the program an attractive and affordable option to finance energy saving measures. Energy customers participating in program financed through RESP then repay the loans at an interest rate of up to 3 percent for up to 10 years through their electric bills.
To be considered for RESP funding, applicants should submit a letter of intent by Aug. 5, 2016 to RESP@wdc.usda.gov.