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U.S. Energy Efficiency Rebates & Incentives Update: October 2019

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

The Hidden Gems in Your Rebates Program

When we look at the projects of some of our most successful clients, we can still identify “hidden gems” that could add even more rebates and incentives to those companies’ revenues. The three most outstanding gems are:

  1. Projects that Do Not Qualify (DNQs)
  2. Unique utility offerings
  3. Lookbacks

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these to illustrate where your organization might be missing opportunities.

DNQ Gems

The entry point for any rebate processing begins with the application. That application, once completed, is the culmination of a range of processes, including the review of plan sets, equipment orders, proposals, invoices and any other documentation that will help develop a clear picture of what equipment has rebate potential. When a project receives DNQ status, it has already undergone a good deal of scrutiny.

So where is the “gem”?

Some projects are disqualified because they fail to meet ENERGY STAR’s energy efficient ratings (EERs) or, in the case of lighting, DesignLights Consortium (DLC) ratings. Meeting the standards can be as simple as switching to a different model or reconsidering a prototype. But it is equally important to know what the utility requirements are as they may set their ratings bar higher than the stated EER and DLC standards.

Utility Offering Gems

A trend we see with utilities in the latter part of their fiscal years is the introduction of programs that encourage more rebate application submissions. There may be additional money available for rebates in the form of bonus programs or increased incentives.

So where is the “gem”?

Utilities will begin to announce these changes to trade allies to encourage more submittals. The changes may include:

  • Removing pre-approval requirements
  • Including additional bonuses
  • Waiving certain restrictions to increase submittals
  • Extending “lookback periods”

To take advantage of these offerings, clients that have projects in areas serviced by these utilities benefit by submitting all required documentation to their energy analyst as soon as possible. It may also be a good idea to shift future-dated projects to a more current date in order to take advantage of these offerings. It is important to keep in mind that offers occurring in a current year, may not be available in future years.

Lookback Gems

Because utility programs change, projects that disqualify today could qualify at some future date under a new and different program.  PECO Energy, for instance, recently waived its pre-approval requirement and increased its “lookback period” to 180 days. Under certain circumstances, some utilities will accept older invoices for energy efficient equipment if that equipment was not subject to pre-approval.

So where is the “gem”?

If you have filed away some invoices that are 30 or more days old, you could be missing out on a “lookback gem.” This gem may be filed away or might not have been submitted as part of the application. If you think you have invoices with lookback potential, send them to your energy analyst for review.

We are always exploring ways to help you find hidden gems in your rebates program, so feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about your project’s rebate potential.

For more information on specific utility rebates and incentives throughout North America, join our free Rebate Update e-mailing list. Or, to capture energy incentive dollars you may be missing, contact a Rebates & Incentives Energy Analyst.