Roanoke Electric receives $6 million for energy efficiency program through USDA

Roanoke Electric Cooperative Chief Operating Officer Marshall Cherry speaks at a press conference in Raleigh where the USDA awarded Roanoke EC $6 million in Rural Energy Savings Program funds for its member relending program. (Photo By: Warren Kessler/Carolina County)

USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh visited North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives’ statewide office in Raleigh this week to announce $141 million in funding for infrastructure projects across rural North Carolina. Funded projects include renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives, including Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s Upgrade to $ave program.

Roanoke Electric will use a $6 million Rural Energy Savings Program loan to finance its energy efficiency program, which funds projects such as replacing lighting, HVAC systems and water heaters, as well as installing electric vehicle charging systems.

“We believe that improving the envelope and efficiency of a home is a critical step in achieving sustainability goals,” said Roanoke Electric COO Marshall Cherry at a press conference during the visit. Cherry will assume the role of interim CEO on Dec. 14. “With this loan, we can expand the reach of our Upgrade to $ave program, which is structured such that Roanoke Electric makes the upfront investments for home energy efficiency improvements, and our member-owners pay it back in small increments over time.”

Forty-one other projects around the state are also receiving funding, with those investments supporting agricultural energy efficiency upgrades and solar energy deployment through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

“USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses across North Carolina purchase and install renewable energy systems, and make energy efficiency improvements,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight. “These investments are an example of USDA’s commitment to financing rural infrastructure, embracing renewable energy and supporting America’s path to energy independence.”