Lighting Rebate Trends

About two-thirds (64%) of the United States is covered by prescriptive lighting rebates, according to BriteSwitch, a rebate fulfillment company. These rebates can significantly reduce the installed cost of new lighting in existing buildings and improve payback by 20%-25%, which would reduce a two-year payback to about 1.5 years.

Despite the proliferation of the LED source, traditional lighting product rebates remain available.
   
The most popular rebates are for high-pressure sodium, ceramic metal halide, pulse-start metal halide, high-bay T8 and T5HO and induction lighting upgrades.
 
After the phase-out of a majority of linear T12 lamps in 2012, the baseline has switched from T12 to T8. Funding has moderated, but rebates are available that can cover a significant portion of the installed cost, resulting in a satisfying payback for installing these solutions.
   
In 2016, many rebate programs have begun to focus more heavily on LED products. The most popular rebates cover downlights, track lighting, high-bays, garage luminaires, linear luminaires, outdoor pole luminaires and linear replacement lamps.
 
Linear replacement lamps previously covered by custom rebates are now being increasingly covered by prescriptive rebates.  
   
Average rebates are continuing to decline as LED product costs fall. In 2015, the average LED product rebate declined 20-30%, according to BriteSwitch. The company expects a more modest 5% decrease in 2016.
 
Controls
Lighting controls continue to be included in the large majority of prescriptive rebate programs. In contrast with other technologies, average rebate dollars have remained somewhat stable, declining just 10% over the past five years. Average rebates cover a significant portion of the installed cost.
    
The most popular rebates cover remote, luminaire-mounted and wallbox occupancy sensors; light sensors; and daylight dimming systems. Many programs are removing their requirement that controls be hardwired, allowing wireless controls.

We are at the beginning of a new phase on prescriptive rebates for lighting controls, which is inclusion of networked lighting controls. In addition to determining energy savings, rebate programs are currently working out whether to treat them as individual components or as complete systems. The result is we may see networked lighting controls begin to enter a significant number of programs in 2017.
 
Craig DiLouie, LC, is education director for the Lighting Controls Association.

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