U.S. Rebates & Incentives Update: January 2019

January 21, 2019 Jenna Bieller

Schneider Electric helps organizations identify, qualify, pursue and obtain energy efficiency incentives. Each month our experts compile important news and notes. Here are your January 2019 rebates and incentives from around the U.S.

Renewable Trends

Renewables are still on the rise. According to Inside Climate News, 2018 was a blockbuster year for renewable energy contracts. As of December 14, a record 6.43 gigawatts in capacity was over the past 12 months according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center. This was attributable to power purchase agreements (PPAs), green tariff programs and other investments by corporate energy buyers.

 “2018 has been a turning point, as some utilities are beginning to make decisions based on the market of the future rather than that of the past," ~Howard Learner, President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Wind energy is rising in prominence at the same time fossil fuel plants look increasingly risky from a financial and regulatory perspective. "In the Midwest, in particular, renewable energy is a win-win for utilities and the ratepayers at this point," said Travis Miller, director of utilities research at Morningstar.

Wind farms are now a familiar part of the view, especially in western Iowa, southwestern Minnesota and other parts of the region's wind belt. And, solar power is growing, with projects planned in many areas, including across Illinois and in Ohio.

The “Market Transformation” Trend

California has been a leader in utility energy efficiency programs for decades. Now, they are moving to an energy efficiency portfolio that will be composed mainly of third-party programs, curated by the investor-owned utilities (IOUs). With this new push, they will start piloting the next generation of programs referred to as “market transformation” programs.

Market transformation programs move beyond rebates and incentives on equipment. They create systemic market changes by including combinations of marketing, incentives, education and perception. A market transformation program can overcome existing barriers to adoption of a product or service with the goal of promoting the value and self-sustaining presence of energy efficient technologies in the marketplace.

The ENERGY STAR Retail Products Platform (ESRPP) is one example of a market transformation program piloted by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). This program aims to change the stocking patterns of national retailers, which reduces the reliance on customer purchasing decisions to achieve energy savings.

2019 Utility Funding Announcements

Kansas City Power & Light in Missouri

As of December 1, 87%* of the business energy efficiency rebate funds for KCP&L in Missouri have been allocated. Funds are being exhausted at a rate of about 4% per month and that rate is expected to increase as the utility approaches the end of the cycle and program year, March 31, 2019. The best practice to secure funding is to complete project(s) ASAP. Keep in mind: equipment purchased during this cycle must be submitted for an incentive during this cycle.

APCO VA

The APCO VA C&I Energy Efficiency Programs have been funded again for 2019. The lighting program for this year is almost identical to last year’s program. We have added a separate C&I Standard Program for other energy efficient measures. See the Virginia Take Charge website for the latest details.

Projects must be preapproved before construction begins. Once approved, projects must be completed within 90 days. If the project is not completed within 90 days, you can request an extension that will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. As with last year’s lighting rebate program, the rebate is based on $.05 per kWh saved. The rebate limit per account is $50,000 per program year. Also, the rebate amount per project is limited to 30% of the total project cost. All proposed LED lighting fixtures must be DLC-approved or ENERGY STAR-approved.

NYSERDA

In 2017, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the availability of $15 million in rebates for the installation of ground source heat pump systems for residences, businesses and institutions. Renewable heating and cooling technologies, such as ground source heat pumps, provide environmental benefits, energy savings and increased comfort level.

The program is still active and currently available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This rebate is for designers and installers of GSHP systems. Site owners interested in this initiative should find a NYSERDA-approved designer or installer to evaluate a project at your home or business.

NYSERDA has separated the initiative into two tiers:

  1. Small systems – those that use 10 or fewer tons of cooling capacity – are eligible for rebates of $1,500/ton of cooling capacity.
  2. Large systems – those that use more than 10 tons of cooling capacity – are eligible for rebates of $1,200/ton of cooling capacity.

The initiative caps the rebate in some cases, regardless of the actual installed capacity:

  • A building can receive up to $500,000
  • A site with multiple buildings can receive up to $1 million
  • No single designer/installer can receive more than $7.5 million

MidAmerica Energy

Energy customers in Iowa will see some changes on their bill beginning in January 2019. A change in state law will cause Iowa’s regulated utilities to show efficiency fees on a separate line on monthly customer bills.

 “Most of our Iowa customers, along with other regulated utility customers in the state, probably don’t know they are paying the monthly energy efficiency fee, which funds energy efficiency programs,” MidAmerican Energy’s vice president of economic connections and integration Kathryn Kunert said.

Kunert said the company welcomes the transparency that will now show where the customer’s bill money is going and thinks customers will welcome this transparency, too.

 

We’re Listening

Schneider Electric is expanding our services to meet your growing need to contain costs, plan projects and improve savings. Each month we’ll present in our segment, “We’re Listening”, offering services and information that support your efforts. For more information contact diane.pruitt@ems.schneider-electric.com.

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