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A Review of 2015 Rebate Programs and a 2016 Look Forward

by Melissa Skubel 25 March, 2016 09:08

Lighting rebates are offered by most utilities nationwide to lower the upfront costs of converting to energy efficient lighting. Lighting generally represents 30% of energy costs for a business and transitioning to energy efficient lighting is a win-win for both businesses and electric utilities. Lowering your energy usage allows you to save money and allows the utility to reduce costs associated with grid infrastructure and building new power plants. Rebates offered by most utilities are for a variety of LED technologies including light bulbs, interior ceiling fixtures, exterior fixtures, and daylight sensors. Today LED lighting is the most efficient technology available and reduces energy use by up to 70% when compared to incandescent lighting. As a result, the LED market has significantly proliferated and LED lighting replacements are available for most types of legacy lighting technologies. Bulbs.com continues to offer a large variety of LED lighting products and works with utilities across the country to offer the best lighting rebates available to our customers. Here we will share with you the most important trends in the lighting rebate industry during 2015 and what to look for in 2016.

2015 Trends

New Instant Rebate Programs


Instant lighting rebates are the most effective way for customers to reduce the upfront costs of transitioning to LED lighting. More and more utilities are offering instant rebate programs to help customers convert to LED. As the instant rebate industry continues to grow, Bulbs.com has grown with it. In 2015 Bulbs.com partnered with 12 new utility partners, many of which started their first program year in 2015. Bulbs.com now offers instant rebates across 16 different electric utility territories including:

  • All Massachusetts Utilities
  • All Rhode Island Utilities
  • All Connecticut Utilities
  • Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Xcel Energy Colorado
  • Xcel Energy Minnesota
  • Duke Energy North Carolina
  • Duke Energy South Carolina
  • Duke Energy Ohio
  • Duke Energy Kentucky
  • Ameren Energy
  • ComEdison
  • Hawaii Energy
  • Southern Maryland Electric Co-op
  • Snohomish Public Utility District
  • Puget Sound Energy

Lower rebate values

As LED technologies continue to gain popularity and become more efficient, manufacturing costs of LED A-Style lamps have been falling. As a result, many utilities have decreased their rebates by up to 50%. Colorado programs continue to offer rebates as high as $10 per A-lamp, while utilities in Illinois offer rebates as low as $2.00 for the same LED A-style lamp. In 2015, we saw similar trends with BR30 and PAR38 lamps with rebate incentives dropping by 20%. We anticipate these incentives will continue to decline in 2016 and this trend will also apply to other lamp shapes including BR, PAR and MR styles.

New Technologies

As LED technology continues to improve, many utilities have added Linear LED lamps to their rebate program catalogue. Average rebates that are available for Linear LEDs are around $5-$6 per lamp. Incentives remain lower for this category because utilities encourage customers to make the full transition to LED fixtures with integrated sensors and controls for better light quality and greatest energy savings. Most of the rebates for these types of products are through downstream paperwork application programs. Rebate programs across the country now have wider product selections including instant rebates on Linear LED, LED Plug-In lamps, and motion sensors.

What to look for in 2016

Instant Rebates for LED fixtures

LED interior and exterior fixtures are gaining popularity and are encouraged as a retrofit solution by utilities. In 2016, we anticipate additional utilities to offer instant incentives for LED troffers that replace linear fluorescent lighting. On March 1st, National Grid Rhode Island started to offer $25 instant incentives for LED troffers. In addition to LED troffers, utilities will also provide instant incentives for LED exterior wall packs and other types of fixtures. Currently Duke Energy and Snohomish Public Utility District in Washington offer incentives of up to $300 for this product category.

Program Funding

As consumers become more aware of the benefits of transitioning to LED lighting, rebate program budgets are running out more quickly. Many customers are unaware that utility rebate incentives are funded through a small tariff on their monthly bill and do not take advantage of the benefits of these programs. If you are thinking about purchasing LED lighting, apply to your utilities’ rebate program quickly before funds are depleted.

New DLC Specifications

Design Lights Consortium (DLC) created new specifications in 2015 and is now offering a new product standard, DLC Premium. DLC premium certified products have greater efficacy and longer rated life. As a result, utility incentive programs may offer higher rebates for these products. The new DLC specifications also include a ‘specialty’ category which has resulted in utilities offering rebates for a greater variety of products. The specialty category includes products like the HID replacement Susan Lamp by Lunera and these are now eligible for downstream rebates by utilities across the US.

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting products can provide greater connectivity and functionality, wireless control to users, and greater energy savings. In 2016 we will continue to see more innovation in these types of products for both commercial and residential application. Commercial products like Philips Spacewise technology allows you to wirelessly control networked fixtures and is eligible for additional rebates for the integrated photocell and motion sensors. Smart lighting products like the Sengled line of Snap, Boost and Pulse are not currently eligible for rebates but will be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification in 2017 which may make them eligible for future rebate programs.

Overall, there are of new rebates that will be available in 2016. Take advantage of the opportunity for energy savings and act now before rebates decrease and funding is depleted. Call one of our certified lighting specialists (1-888-455-2800) for more information on rebates that are available to you or fill out this form.

For more information on the rebate industry you can contact Energy Services at energyservices@bulbs.com 

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