Rebate programs are alive and well in 2008 and are helping to fuel a surge of new interest in energy conservation. Federal energy legislation, concerns over fuel prices and energy-efficient building standards are also helping to build a new energy consciousness in the United States.
In a report for Electrical Wholesaling’s upcoming February issue, the magazine’s editors found more programs than ever available through electric utilities, government agencies and public utility commissions. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) Web site at www.dsireusa.org offers frequent updates on available rebate programs. It’s managed by the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
EW’s editors found that several utilities increased their lighting rebates in 2008, and that others discontinued some rebates for replacement motors. For instance Xcel Energy, Minneapolis, increased its rebate for the installation of four-foot, four-lamp T8 fixtures from $10 per fixture to $16 per fixture, and its rebate for two-lamp, four-foot T8 fixtures from $4 per fixture to $8 per fixture. Xcel serves 3.3 million electrical customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers in the upper Midwest and spends more than $85 million annually on energy efficiency and conservation programs for its residential and business customers.
On the flip side, the MotorUp program offered by many New England utilities over the past few years doesn’t appear to be as popular in that region right now. Connecticut Light & Power, Hartford, Conn., and United Illuminating, New Haven, Conn., still offer the program, but several Massachusetts utilities don’t.
The budgets for some of these programs (including but not limited to energy-efficient electrical products) is astounding. For instance, the New Jersey SmartBuildings program has a $27.8 million budget, and on the West Coast, Southern California Edison will pay a commercial/industrial customer up to $2.4 million if they save enough energy with an energy retrofit.