In 2010, Congressman Clyburn led a bipartisan coalition of House Members, rural electric cooperatives, and energyindustry leaders in introducing legislation to establish the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP). In the subsequent years, Congressman Clyburn fought to see the program implemented in the face of congressional gridlock, championing its inclusion in the 2014 Farm Bill and subsequent reauthorization in the 2018 Farm Bill. Using low-interest loans to promote durable, cost-effective, and energy-efficient measures, RESP creates jobs, saves American families and businesses money on their electric bills, and reduces air pollution.
RESP offers interest-free loans for terms up to 20 years to utilities, utility subsidiaries, electric cooperatives, and similar organizations. These loans are used to pass savings and incentives to small businesses and consumers who make cost-saving energy efficiency improvements like solar panel installation, weatherization, and roof repair. Up to $100 million dollars is available through RESP in FY 2019, and South Carolina cooperatives have been major participants in the program. Millions of dollars in RESP funds have helped many customers in South Carolina lower their electric bills by over $100 each month.
Rural Energy Savings Program Act (H.R. 4785) is part of the Democrats’ "Make it in America" initiative to increase American manufacturing and create new American jobs. When we Make It In America, we create jobs to lead the world economy.
To spur job creation in American clean energy, this legislation provides loans to American families and farmers in rural communities to renovate their homes or farms to become more energy-efficient, creating American manufacturing and installation jobs, while lowering energy bills for American families. These programs will offer homeowners and farmers loans of about $3,000 to $7,500 to eliminate the upfront cost of home energy upgrades, which customers can then repay over 10 years on their electric bill -- with their energy savings from the renovations covering most of the cost of the loan. The legislation is fiscally responsible, as all of the loans will be repaid to the federal government, and is fully compliant with PAYGO, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Rural Star and Loan Star programs will boost demand for energy efficient products, materials, and construction and installation services that are made in America; over 90% of these products and materials —caulking, insulation, HVAC systems, hot water heaters, sealant, windows, doors other structural materials — are made in America.
The Rural Star program is estimated to create 20,000 – 40,000 jobs per year, with the Home Star loan program a key part of an effort to create 168,000 American jobs; these jobs are in construction, manufacturing and retail – industries that have been devastated by the Bush recession and jobs that can't be outsourced.
This bipartisan legislation is supported by business, environmental and consumer groups – National Association of Manufacturers, National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, Alliance to Save Energy, Home Star Coalition, Third Way, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association.
About the Bill
- Bill Text (As Introduced)- March 9, 2010
- Bill Text (As Re-Introduced)- July 29, 2010
- Floor Statement
Letters of Support