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Arkansas Senate approves energy efficiency financing program

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association issued a statement on Thursday praising the efforts of legislators to authorize the “Property Assessed Clean Energy” financing program.

SB 640, sponsored by Sen. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, authorizes the voluntary creation of energy improvement districts to fund loans for energy efficiency improvements, water conservation improvements, and renewable energy projects by interested property owners. The loans are repaid via a special assessment on the owner's property.

Loan payments are generally less than the amount of energy savings achieved so most business owners experience an increase in cash flow. Homeowners would enjoy energy savings and a reduced cost of living.

“Without access to low-cost financing opportunities, Arkansas property owners must typically bear the upfront costs of energy savings projects, an obstacle that has stymied many energy savings projects in Arkansas,” noted the AAEA statement.

The bill was approved in the Senate by a 35-5 vote, and now moves to the Arkansas House for consideration. Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, is the lead sponsor in the House.

Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, was a cosponsor of SB 640. House cosponsors include Reps. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs; George McGill, D-Fort Smith; and David Whitaker, D-Fayetteville.

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Voting against the bill were Sens. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers; Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe; Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs; Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood; and Jason Rapert, R-Conway.

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