A new program is available to assist West Virginia farmers who are interested in saving energy within their farm operations. The West Virginia Farm Energy Audit Program is offering a limited number of energy audits on a first-come, first-served basis before the end of 2018.

Funded through USDA Rural Development, the program is operated by the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) with audits delivered by EnSave, Inc. Both organizations have a history of collaborating on energy projects serving West Virginia's farmers.

Not only does an energy audit identify the specific opportunities to reduce energy costs on the farm, but it is the key to unlocking affordable financing options for the recommended energy efficient equipment. NCIFund offers affordable, cash-positive financing for qualified applicants, and assistance accessing other funding.

"Cash positive financing ensures that monthly loan repayments are less than the cost savings resulting from the energy efficient improvements," says Hannah Vargason, Energy Project Manager for NCIFund. "This means a farm can invest in energy efficiency and get the ongoing benefits of reduced energy bills without affecting the business's cash flow, from Day 1."

Funding is also available through the Rural Energy for America Program, which offers grants up to 25% of the project cost and loan guarantees up to 75% of the project cost.

Energy audits begin with a phone call with EnSave and NCIFund to discuss the farm's goals. After submitting a year of energy bills and receiving a site visit, the farm receives their energy audit within 8 weeks. "The energy audit provides specific recommendations about the return-on-investment for specific pieces of equipment, allowing the farm to prioritize its investment in energy efficiency," says Vargason.

To participate, interested farmers should contact EnSave directly at (800) 732-1399 to sign up or ask any questions. Funding is only available through the end of 2018 so farmers should act fast to secure their opportunity.

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