In Ontario, the saveONenergy rebate program is a driving force for encouraging energy efficient retrofits. The rebates encompass all sorts of technologies: motors, drives, fans and more. The rebates typically reduce a 4-year payback to 2 years or less!
The low hanging fruit is definitely lighting, with legislation eliminating inefficient products from the market, and a simple to understand prescriptive list showing a per-unit incentive amount. Basically the owner is entitled to approximately $400 for every 1000 watts of peak load reduction.
But the main 2 problems are a challenge to overcome.
I have assisted over 100 clients in applying for the rebates. Only 1 client was able to (have the patience?) complete the application on their own. If 99% of business owners cannot complete an on-line application what does this say about the process?
Also, the project must be pre-approved by the Local Hydro (LDC) before the work has begun. This rule was always in place, but was never enforced until about a year ago. So I am still getting calls from clients who want to apply but their project has been completed. No rebate for you!
I have people calling me every day asking how to apply for rebates. I give them the website and wish them good luck. Without any expertise in lighting, there is no way they can complete an on-line application. And when they call their local hydro provider, they can’t help either, and some even give out my name!
My conclusion is that the committees that develop the rebate process should consult with people that know lighting and lighting technologies and fundamentals, as well as business owners who would provide valuable feedback on the application process.
I suspect there are thousands of retrofit projects that are not moving forward due to the rebate process which is at odds with what the rebate program was devised to do: encourage energy efficient retrofits!