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April 5, 2013
State energy program helps Gurley farm generate power and profit from solar energy
A loan through the AlabamaSAVES program helped install a solar-panel

system at Cozy Cove Farm, a llama and alpaca business in Madison County.

MONTGOMERY— After a 36-year career at NASA, retired engineer Tony O’Neil and his wife Cozette had a dream to power Cozy Cove Farm, their 47-acre commercial property in Gurley, with renewable energy.

That dream became reality recently thanks in part to a $142,500 loan through AlabamaSAVES, a program of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs that helps businesses complete energy-saving upgrades to reduce operating expenses. The loan allowed O’Neil to install a solar power system that is generating all the power needed to operate the alpaca and llama farm and charge electric vehicles.

In fact, the solar panels are producing so much energy that Cozy Cove Farm expects to earn about $15,000 per year by selling excess electricity to the Tennessee Valley Authority. Through Huntsville Utilities, the farm’s solar system is connected to the power grid enabling O’Neil to sell electricity to TVA’s Green Power Partners program.

“More and more Alabama businesses are learning about the economic and environmental benefits of ADECA’s AlabamaSAVES program,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. “Cozy Cove Farm is a perfect example of how the program not only cuts utility costs, but also can boost cash flow, generate extra profits and provide jobs for contractors who install the energy upgrades.”

To fund the solar power system, Cozy Cove Farm combined the 1-percent-interest-rate AlabamaSAVES loan with a federal tax credit and a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant.

Loans made through AlabamaSAVES are designed to create energy-efficiency savings that exceed loan repayments, creating extra cash flow for the business. In its second year, the program provided 11 loans in 2012 to fund nearly $11 million in energy-efficiency projects.

ADECA established AlabamaSAVES with funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. Loans of $50,000 to $4 million are available to help Alabama commercial and industrial businesses finance energy-saving improvements. Projects are evaluated on potential for sustainable energy savings, cost savings, renewable energy generation, emissions reductions and job creation and retention.

Abundant Power, a firm that partners with states and municipalities to design, administer and finance energy-efficiency and renewable energy programs, is helping ADECA administer AlabamaSAVES. The loan to Cozy Cove Farm was issued by Alabama Farm Credit, one of AlabamaSAVES private lending partners.

For more information about the program, go to www.alabamasaves.com. For more information about Cozy Cove, go to www.cozycovellamas.com.

Contact: Mike Presley, Larry Childers

For more information, visit:  http://www.adeca.alabama.gov/