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The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC) will soon launch a pilot program with Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange and the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO) that seeks to make solar photovoltaic generation more economical for electric cooperatives and their members.

Through the initiative, NRCO will oversee program management and supporting marketing and legal documents. CFC will provide debt capital as needed for solar projects. Federated has committed up to $6 million as a tax equity investment for the initial solar projects.

According to the organizations, the program was developed in the context of decreasing technology costs combined with tax incentives. Taxable third-party solar vendors are able to harness the benefits of investment tax credits and accelerated depreciation to deploy solar projects - incentives that nonprofit electric cooperatives cannot traditionally access.

"This collaborative program will provide electric cooperatives with a streamlined process to develop solar energy projects in a more cost-effective way," CFC CEO Sheldon C. Petersen says.

"Our organizations will be able to provide an electric cooperative interested in developing one or more solar power projects with all of the essential services needed to do so," NRCO CEO Amadou Fall adds. "Basic project concepts can be expanded and scaled up depending on the interest of cooperative memberships and as more projects develop."

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