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Lighting Rebate Trends

BY Marianne Wilson

Rebates for lighting upgrades are alive and well, with rebate organizations having updated their rebate and incentive programs for 2014. Currently, 71% of the country is covered by an active commercial lighting rebate, according to BriteSwitch, Princeton, New Jersey, which helps large national companies take advantage of rebate and incentive programs that exist across the United States and Canada.

Here is a review of major rebate trends from BriteSwitch:

There are more prescriptive rebates for LEDs.

More organizations are now offering prescriptive rebates for a larger variety of LED solutions, such as LED high-bay fixtures, LED outdoor pole lights, TL fixture replacements and even some LED T8 replacements.

In 2014, LED rebates have continued to expand with 16% more prescriptive rebates than last year. Also, the dollar amounts have remained relatively stable compared with last year, which is surprising given the falling prices of LEDs.

Depending on the location, an operator may be eligible for a sizeable rebate when installing LED solutions in an existing facility or new construction project. Rebates may be available for a variety of LED replacements, including:

• LED lamps (PAR, MR, A-shaped, globe)

• High-bay LED fixtures

• Street and parking lot lighting

• Fluorescent replacements

T12 rebates continue to decline.

As expected, T12 to T8 rebates took a tumble this year compared with 2013. Because it is becoming harder to find replacement T12 lamps and ballasts, many rebate programs feel they no longer need to offer incentives for people to upgrade. Between this year and last, the number of rebates available for T8 installations decreased by 18%.

While the dollar amount of the rebate remains relatively stable from last year, many programs are requiring the use of high-performance or reduced-wattage T8 lamps. In fact, 60% of T8 rebates require lamps and ballasts that satisfy CEE specifications.

It can be more difficult to get these rebates than it was in the past. Previously, standard T8 lamps and ballasts would qualify for incentives in many programs. Today, however, the remaining programs may have more stringent requirements, such as a reduced-wattage lamp, low ballast factor or use of a reflector. And over 60% of prescriptive T8 rebates require the use of a CEE-approved lamp and ballast combination. It’s important to fully understand the program’s requirements before making any decision on equipment.

Between 2013 and 2014, the number of rebates for T12 to T8 upgrades decreased by 18%. For T12 fixtures that will need to be upgraded to T8 fixtures, you should act soon in order to take advantage of rebates. In the future, BriteSwitch expects the rebates for this category to continue to decrease and possibly disappear as rebate and incentive programs are revised.

Programs are getting more funding.

In 2013, quite a few rebate programs, such as Consumers Energy in Michigan and SureBet Nevada, exceeded their budget, ending the programs earlier than planned. This year, they have new funding again and are accepting applications for 2014 projects.

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