The 8 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Commercial Utility Rebates & Incentives
Utilities offers a variety of commercial and industrial rebate programs to offset the cost of HVAC investments.

Utilities offers a variety of rebate program options to help commercial and industrial customers increase their energy efficiency by installing heating and cooling systems, lighting upgrades, special equipment, and more. As a business whose optimization solutions consistently qualify customer sites for significant rebates, tekWorx fields a lot of questions on commercial utility rebates, industrial incentives and the like.  Below are  some of the most frequently asked questions on this popular topic.

Why do utilities offer commercial utility rebates and incentives?

Reducing energy costs through energy efficiency and demand response programs is good for both facilities and utilities. Utilities benefit from reducing energy consumption demand at peak times by avoiding the need for building additional capacity. Also, as more utilities are faced with competition, responding to customer requests with energy service programs increases retention.

Are commercial utility rebates and utility incentives the same thing?

These terms are used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. A rebate is a return of part of an original payment. An incentive, on the other hand, is intended to initiate action. Without it, that action would likely not occur.

Many programs are structured as either a rebate program or an incentive program. Depending on the program, they are either giving a site money back for an already planned project, or they are trying to entice a facility to move forward with something you wouldn’t have normally pursued.

What other commercial and industrial rebate and incentive programs do utility providers offer?

Beyond general rebate and incentives, there are demand response and load management programs. These programs provide incentives for facilities to curtail demand during peak energy usage periods.

Load management, or demand response, is a utility’s solution to decreasing high load demand on its electrical system. If the demand is peaking or extremely high, usage is reduced in one of two ways:  temporarily managing, or shutting off, electric loads using a radio-controlled switch or applying a significant charge if electricity is used during that time.

Are there different types of commercial utility rebates and incentives?

The two types of utility incentives offered for commercial and industrial buildings include service incentives and cash rebates.

With the service incentive, the utility company pays an engineering firm or other service provider directly for their technical services, such as retro commissioning or energy assessments. The incentives vary based on the utility provider.

With a cash rebate, the utility provides the commercial building owner with rebate based on the energy impact of the installation of energy efficient equipment and/or services.

Are there different types of commercial utility rebates?

There are two types of utility energy rebates: prescriptive and custom.

Prescriptive rebates are based on installing approved energy-efficient equipment or taking other energy saving measures that meet a defined set of criteria. These incentives are predetermined dollar amounts for the most common replacements seen in the market such as high efficiency drives and motors. Prescriptive incentives do not require pre‐approval unless the incentive is over a certain amount and can be applied for after installation.

Custom utility rebates are based on energy savings, which must be measured and verified-both pre-installation and post-installation by the utility. Facilities or their consultant work with the utility to determine equipment eligibility, measurement and verification processes and potential rebate amounts prior to the beginning of the project. They often require site-specific assessments. Once the project is complete, the verified demand and energy/water savings from qualifying equipment will determine the final amount of the rebate. Some custom rebates can significantly reduce the payback period associated with the new equipment or project.

Are commercial utility rebates and incentives available for new construction?

Incentives are often available for ground-up construction, additions or expansions, and complete building repurposing. These program encourages  building owners and designers to evaluate and install systems with higher energy efficiency than the standard or planned systems.

What is the process for securing commercial utility rebates and incentives?

To secure these utility incentives, sites work with either the utility company or their liaison hired to administer the program or with an industry professional, such as a consulting engineer, contractor or energy efficiency firm.

Is there a list of all available utility rebates and incentives?

The most comprehensive list of incentives and rebates offered in each state is accessible with DSIRE.  Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the NC. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council. This database is a great source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

There are plenty of opportunities to utilize energy-efficient incentives that save energy and dollars each month. tekWorx Xpress® optimization solutions qualify for significant custom HVAC rebates with all utility providers and our engineers assist with all applications, verification and paperwork.  

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