According to a BriteSwitch North American Rebate and Incentive database, 79% of the United States is covered by an active commercial lighting rebate program, the highest since the company started measuring the coverage eight years ago.
BriteSwtich, a rebate watchdog, cites several reasons for the historic high. Many programs replenished their rebate funds in January. Second, some large programs that ran out of money years ago have come back such as FirstEnergy in Ohio and Duquesne Light in Pennsylvania.
Ten-Fold Increase for Screw-in HID Rebates
Last year, only 10 utilities were providing prescriptive rebates for LED lamps meant to replace HID screw-in bulbs. These types of bulbs are frequently used in high-bay or outdoor lighting applications. As expected, the addition of a Design Lights Consortium (DLC) category for the mogul versions of these lamps brought a large increase in the numbers of rebates available.
This year, the number of utilities jumped to 116, which is 10 times more than 2016. Still, this is only a fraction of the number of programs available for other types of LED products (which have between 400 to 600 utilities depending on the category).
The rebate amounts for these bulbs can be significant. On average the prescriptive rebate is currently $110 per bulb. That amount does not take into account though the various cost caps that programs often have to limit the overall rebate at a percentage of material or project cost.
TLED and Screw-in LED Bulbs Rebates Continue to Drop
Rebates for LED tubes and retrofit screw-in bulbs have taken off over the past few years with more and more rebate programs accepting these solutions. Historically, the rebate amounts have decreased as the programs are adjusted to match the falling prices of these products. As you can see below, in 2017 the rebates for LED tubes dropped by 16% to $6.84 and for screw-in LED bulbs they decreased 20% to $9.52.
For the first time, BriteSwitch saw several rebate programs discontinue rebates for screw-in LEDs. The logic behind this decision is that these programs believe the cost of the lamps have come down enough that customers no longer need assistance to make the project financially feasible. While the price of LEDs is dropping, especially in the consumer marketplace, this decision ignores that bulbs used in commercial applications (PARs, MRs, etc) are often more expensive because of their better qualities such as longer life and higher color rendering.