Alliant Energy Program Saves Small Businesses Big Money

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A new Alliant Energy program aims to get more small businesses to switch to energy efficient lighting, by paying part of the bill.

The Small Business Energy Solutions program started last year and went statewide In January.

Here's how it works. A participating contractor will evaluate the current lighting at any qualified small business. The contractor will then make a lighting improvement proposal, and then start working. Once the project is complete Alliant pays up to 75 percent of the overall cost.

Justin Foss, an Alliant Energy spokesperson, said the company gets something out of it too.

"By increasing the energy efficiency of our customers we're able to reduce the amount of energy we need to generate on a daily basis," said Foss.

Dan Callahan, the owner of Budget Car & Truck Rental of Cedar Rapids, is using the program to replace his fluorescent lighting from the 70s.

"I've struggled with the balusters going out, the fluorescent bulbs being changed constantly, and just the overall flickering of the lights can drive you crazy," said Callahan.

Callahan will be taking out all of the fluorescent lights in his business and putting in greener LED lights.

"I've been looking at this for over two years and it's finally become affordable," Callahan said.

Callahan's lighting project is estimated to cost more than $25,000. But, through Alliant's program, he'll be getting $9,100 back. Plus, the new efficient lights will save Callahan $6,500 annually on electric bills.

"It's a lot. It's going to make me take a look at my house," Callahan.

Small businesses that qualify have to receive electricity from Alliant, have an annual electric bill less than $50,000 and occupy less than 20,000 square feet.
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