NASHVILLE (WRCB) – Governor Phil Bredesen announced a new loan program designed to help businesses become more energy efficient.

Along with economic development commissioner Matt Kisber, Governor Bredesen introduced the Energy Efficiency Loan Program.

The program is designed to help Tennessee businesses finance investments in energy efficient technology, energy retrofits and renewable energy systems.

"Our goal is to make Tennessee a true leader in sustainability and this new Energy Efficiency Loan Program will be a substantial step in that direction," said Governor Bredesen in a release. "By providing access to this type of financing, we are making Tennessee businesses more competitive and that means more jobs for Tennesseans."

The program will offer below market rate loans in an effort to lower overall costs for development.

The Energy Efficiency Loan Program is available to any business seeking to reduce energy consumption in their Tennessee facilities through building retrofits and upgrades, equipment replacement purchases or other energy efficiency or renewable energy projects.  Beginning August 25, businesses may apply online at www.pathwaylending.org with first round applications due by November 1, 2010.

The Energy Efficiency Loan Program will be administered by Pathway Lending, a community development financial institution that provides loans to businesses lacking access to traditional financing options.

Learn more about the Energy Efficiency Loan Program at www.InvestTennessee.org.