The New Reality of Lighting Rebates for LED Retrofit Programs

Thursday, August 22, 2019 By Yudi Levine

Lighting rebates are changing, let’s talk about what that means for you.

LEDs are now priced so competitively that many lighting rebates have been significantly reduced or discontinued.

While the goals of most LED retrofit programs include reducing KWh, increasing efficiency and eliminating maintenance costs, lighting rebates are often a driver as well - making the undertaking far more feasible. When LEDs went from making LA Gear shoes cool to becoming a viable option for facility lighting, incentive programs were put in place to encourage the adoption of this more efficient technology. In addition to helping with sustainability and efficiency initiatives, lighting rebates also helped facility owners overcome budgetary obstacles when looking to implement LED retrofit programs.

Fast forward to 2019. In the past year, several of the major energy providers have announced that several of the incentives for lighting (without controls) will be reduced and possibly discontinued. Many other providers are expected to stop or significantly reduce their lighting rebate programs in 2020. LED has become the standard and that means they no longer need to be incentivized.

Additionally, the goal of the incentives was to make LEDs feasible from a financial point of view. Even with such a significant ROI, the initial undertaking was a major barrier for implementation. With the evolvement of technology and multitude of options being offered, LEDs are now priced so competitively that the need for incentives is unnecessary. In fact, LEDs are becoming code in new construction projects. 

“We have seen a reduction in incentives available for lamp LED retrofits over the last several years,” Illumetek’s Application Engineer, Kristen Cooke points out, “for example, a T8 tube that had a $5 incentive 4 years ago may only have a $1 incentive to retrofit with a TLED today.”

So what does a reduction in lighting rebates mean for you and your efficiency initiatives?

If you are considering an LED retrofit, act fast!

If your energy provider still offers rebates for LEDs, you simply cannot afford to wait. There is no guarantee that those incentives will still be offered next year. If you were relying on lighting rebates to offset project costs or to gain corporate buy-in, your window of opportunity may be closing.

Receiving preapproval for your LED retrofit program will help lock up your incentives, making audits and pre-project paperwork essential.

This sounds bad, is doomsday here?

While it's true that lighting rebates are slowing down, the good news is that the money from these programs is not drying up, it is just getting reallocated. Rebates are now being offered for several lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, daylight controls, time clocks, photocells and bi-level lighting controls.

Adding controls to an LED retrofit will usually deliver an annual lighting energy savings of 80-90%. With the lighting controls rebates that are now being offered, your program is sure to deliver a significant ROI.

Even better news – lighting controls rebates like these will not be slowing down anytime soon. We suggest considering them when planning an LED retrofit.

Which lighting rebates are still available?

Exploring all of the rebates being offered and the technical requirements necessary to achieve them is vital to maximizing the amount of incentives you will receive. Thorough research prior to project initiation, getting project pre-approval from your energy provider and filling all paperwork diligently is the formula for success in today's rebate landscape.

So, while lighting incentives are beginning to be discontinued, several are still being offered -– it’s just a matter of making sure you are able to begin your program before they stop. Additionally, rebates on lighting controls will not be slowing down anytime soon, so it is important to incorporate them when planning a retrofit.

If you are planning an LED retrofit initiative, make sure that your project management team and rebate administrator are on the same page. At Illumetek, we handle both in house, giving us the ability to plan and schedule a program based on rebate timelines. If you have any questions about available incentives or the process of planning a program accordingly, reach out to us at hello@illumetek.com or give us a call at 800-644-2566, we’re a pretty friendly group and would love to hear from you!

Filed under: LED, Lighting, Rebates, Retrofit

About Illumetek

Illumetek is a National Program Management company facilitating installs, updates, compliance and rebates for Lighting, Electrical, and associated Controls. If you have additional questions regarding LED lighting technology or design, please feel free to contact us anytime.


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Illumetek is a National Program Management company facilitating installs, updates, compliance and rebates for Lighting, Electrical, and associated Controls. Contact us today!