The Rebate Apocalypse – Energy Efficiency Incentives Expire Soon

This post was originally published on Clearly Energy

Honeywell rebate program

By Lisa Zelljedt

Well it looks like the Mayan apocalypse didn’t happen, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. But, while the world is not ending, some opportunities to save money are: A lot of incentive programs for energy efficiency and power-saving appliances expire at the end of 2012, including some that you could still take advantage of.

Incentives for renewable energy and electricity savings are available at all different levels (federal, state, your local utility) and in different forms (tax credit, loan guarantee, appliance rebate). However, most are subject to specific rules. A cool website funded by the U.S. Department of Energy provides a searchable database of all these incentives where you can check out what’s available in your state.

The best-known program to expire at the end of the year is the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit, which incentivizes renewable electricity generation projects for their first ten years of operation. But did you know that there are 215 other renewable energy and energy efficiency programs expiring this month? Here are a few different types.

Most of the rebate programs are run by utilities – your local electricity provider gives you money for buying a more efficient appliance and, in some cases, even pays you to get rid of your old one. Examples include a municipal utility in Connecticut offering up to $500 for buying an efficient new electric water heater or air conditioner. A number of the utility programs expire at the end of 2012, but then switch to a new rebate form to cover items purchased next year – so while you may still be able to take advantage of the program in 2013, you have to act fast to get credit for anything bought in 2012.

Such rebates are not limited to electricity, or to home energy products. Southern California Gas Company offers rebates to small businesses that use gas-fired equipment like deep fryers and commercial size ovens at restaurants – if you get that spiffy new pressureless steamer before December 31st, SoCal Gas will help you out to the tune of $2000. In New York, the utility, National Grid, offers similar rebates on commercial-grade kitchen equipment.

In some cases, the state government offers that type of rebate, too. New Jersey, for instance, has a clean energy program that offers rebates on EnergyStar appliances in addition to home energy audits and other discounts. That program’s rebate on energy efficient washers ends December 31st, so buy now if you want $50 off a new, efficient machine (for a discussion of efficient washers, see our washer post from earlier this year.). In Vermont, the state funds a grant program for energy efficiency projects in the commercial and agricultural sectors – to light up the barns of those Ben & Jerry’s cows with LED lights.

Other rebates are offered at an even more local level. In Massachusetts, a group of counties that make up Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard offer hundreds of dollars in rebates on high-efficiency furnaces, boilers, and water heaters – but only if the new equipment is installed by December 31st.

If this post has you in a cold sweat, rest assured that many of these incentives will be renewed in some form and at some point in 2013, but many energy efficiency programs were initially funded with federal stimulus dollars that are running out. Some state or local programs are also being slashed due to the fiscal crunch – so to be on the safe side, get it done this week.

[image credit: CERTs: Flickr cc]

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