BY KELLY MADSEN | IOWA ENERGY CENTER
Since first accepting applications in 1996, the Iowa Energy Center’s Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) has supported the development of hundreds of alternative energy production facilities throughout the state. This summer, the AERLP reached a milestone by awarding its 30 millionth dollar to a solar project in Wellman, Iowa.
Over the past 17 years, the AERLP has received over 460 loan applications from Iowans interested in building biomass, wind, solar, hydro, and other alternative energy facilities at their homes or businesses. Recipients are selected for their projects financial and technical qualifications, and are eligible for zero percent interest loan funds equal to half of the total financed cost of a project. Since the program’s start, 219 projects have been funded, exceeding 2 million megawatt-hours in cumulative energy generation. The $30 million in AERLP loans have been leveraged against over $226 million of other capital investment.
The AERLP was first established with funding from a three-year assessment totaling $5.9 million on the gross intrastate operating revenues of Iowa’s investor-owned gas and electric utilities. The program grew in popularity and recently received additional funding from the Iowa State Legislature. In 2009 and 2010, as part of the I-JOBS bill new funds totaling $10 million were added to the program.
The loan marking the program’s $30 million milestone allowed Jarrod Horning, an Iowa farmer and repairman, to install a pair of roof mounted solar arrays on his barn. The project costs $48,580 of which the Energy Center provided $24,290 in AERLP loans. Two months after installation, Mr. Horning reported that the solar energy project has already helped cut down his out-of-pocket energy costs.
More information on the Energy Center’s AERLP can be found here.