CDFA energy loans reach milestone

A $6.6 million revolving fund that provides low-interest loans and grants to New Hampshire businesses and nonprofits to finance energy improvements has completed its first round of lending.In partnership with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, the Community Development Finance Authority just closed its first line of loans through the Enterprise Energy Fund, or EEF, which is funded through federal stimulus funds.Between $2 million and $4 million are currently in the pipeline, said Kevin Flynn, CDFA communications director, leaving millions still available in loans for interested entities.The loans – which range from $10,000 to $500,000, with an interest rate of between 2 and 4 percent – are available to nonprofits and businesses both large and small so they can lower both their carbon emissions and energy costs.Some of the approved upgrades include installation of renewable energy systems; the conduction of energy audits; and improvements to sealing and insulation, lighting and HVAC equipment.About 60 organizations have already applied, requesting $7 million, said Alice Veenstra, CDFA chief community development officer. Successful applicants are financially stable and can demonstrate significant savings potential.Three entities in the state have received loans thus far: AutoServ in Concord and Tilton, to replace parking lot light fixtures with LEDs; New Horizons, a shelter and food kitchen in Manchester, to convert to hydro air heating and solar water systems; and Littleton Regional Hospital, to replace eight A/C compressors with two high-efficiency ones.Several other organizations also have received grants for energy audits, which are performed by The Jordan Institute. The CDFA covers 75 percent of the audit’s cost for nonprofits and 50 percent for for-profit businesses. If the organization moves forward with the loan, it is reimbursed for the entire cost of the audit.Organizations have applied from “every corner of the state, from Cheshire County to the North Country to Hillsborough and Rockingham counties,” said Flynn. “We want businesses to apply for these loans.”Similar loans for energy improvement projects are offered through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the New Hampshire Retail Merchants Association.Interested businesses can visit to fill out an application. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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