Traverse City Chamber Launches New Loan Program

Michigan Saves isn't the only new news in energy-related financing for Traverse City area businesses.

An energy efficiency loan program through the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce has received a $50,000 infusion from Traverse City Light & Power.

Last year, $50,000 of funding from the chamber was lent to businesses in the first three months the money was available.

While the initial lending program was available to any chamber member that had an energy audit and could demonstrate that their energy savings would be sufficient to repay the loan, the new funds are available to chamber members that:

– Are Light & Power commercial and industrial customers.

– Do an audit.

– Can demonstrate that they will have a reduction in energy use from the efficiency improvements, as measured in kilowatt hours.

Loan amounts will vary and bear terms of up to fiveyears, at interest rates of three to five percent.

But wait – there's more. The chamber is might also create a fund "that would allow us to have community investors participate in funding energy efficiency projects," said Doug Luciani, chamber president and CEO.

He said that the chamber is talking with investors whom he declined to identify, and "if we can have $200,000 of committed capital, we would do it."

Unlike the initial chamber program loans of about $10,000 or less, the potential new fund might start by making loans in the $50,000 to $100,000 range, Luciani said. Investors would be repaid through money businesses save on energy.

If the idea moves forward, the chamber might roll out the new program in the first quarter of this year.

"For us, it's not just an energy savings program," Luciani said, "it's a way to keep money in the