By N.R. Mallery
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont’s statewide economic development finance lender. Created by the General Assembly in 1974, VEDA’s mission is “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”
Since 1974, VEDA has provided over $2.49 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, and agricultural enterprises, helping them to realize their business growth goals, create jobs, and enhance the vitality of Vermont’s economy. Working in partnership with Vermont banks to help meet the financing needs of Vermont businesses, VEDA’s low-interest programs help Vermont’s economy grow and prosper.
For over four decades, VEDA has partnered with Vermont banks and other lenders to provide low-interest loans to Vermont businesses and farms, both large and small.
Among other financing options available, VEDA provides financing for commercial and agricultural energy generation and efficiency projects with these programs:
Commercial Energy Loan Program. Loans up to $2 million to finance qualifying renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects. Eligible businesses include all those listed in the Direct Loan Program and Small Business Loan Program, as well as non-profit business entities and municipalities, with the exception of residential housing.
Agricultural Energy Loan Program. This program helps Vermont agricultural and forest product-based businesses to finance qualifying renewable energy generation and energy- efficiency improvement projects, and to adopt technologies that enhance or support the development and implementation of renewable energy or energy efficiency, or both.
Montpelier Heating District Loan Program. This program makes loans to Montpelier businesses that wish to connect to the City of Montpelier’s new heating district improvements.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Program. This program utilizes State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) funds to finance the purchase and/or installation of electric vehicle charging stations available for public use.
The story about how the Town of Stowe and Village of Hyde Park benefited from financing through VEDA for their Renewable Energy Projects is summed up by Ellen Burt, the general manager for Stowe Electric Department and Carol Robertson, general manager of the Village of Hyde Park, Hyde Park Electric. “Working in partnership, Stowe and Hyde Park originally sought to bring our municipal solar projects to fruition through third-party ownership. But, when VEDA offered assistance to secure Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) that would provide the lowest-cost financing, the benefits to our ratepayers were clear. Our governing bodies supported us in quickly securing approvals from voters to pursue CREB financing, and VEDA moved with precision to help us meet the CREB application deadline and secure the bonds. Our solar projects began producing electricity on August 5, 2016 with municipal ownership on day one. Both projects were ahead of schedule and under projected cost. We are most grateful for VEDA’s diligence and professionalism that resulted in the success of our solar projects.”