Where Are the Best Areas for Lighting Rebates?

September 11th 2019

The number one question we get is, “Where are the best lighting rebates in the country?” This question makes sense. Customers with multiple locations, nationwide distributors and contractors all want to focus on those regions with the highest rebates. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer because rebates can vary so much. While there’s no clear-cut answer, we can provide some guidance.

Best areas for rebates map

The 3 States With the Highest Populations Have the Worst Rebates
Highest Population States In an ironic twist, the three states with the highest populations are the least beneficial for rebates. When people think of green initiatives, California usually comes to mind first. Over the past few years, their commercial lighting programs have dwindled as they have shifted their focus towards energy efficiency legislation rather than providing incentives. Texas’ utility rebate programs are traditionally geared towards large projects and require several extra steps that add complexity for both the customer and the contractor. Florida’s utilities offer meager rebate opportunities; only a few rebate programs are available and their incentive levels are typically low. For instance, one of their incentives comes out to only $0.05 per 4' LED tube.

Generous Northeastern Rebates but With a Catch
North East Rebate Area Traditionally, Northeastern utility providers have offered lucrative rebates but the process is difficult and the fine print can seem daunting. Rebate applications in this area are typically outsourced to third party organizations, questions are forwarded to call centers and the paperwork is redirected countless times before it’s reviewed. This can make it difficult to follow up on a project and to find out when materials can be purchased or even for which incentive you will be eligible. All these steps also lead to a lengthy pre-approval period, sometimes taking as long as six to eight weeks. Some utilities have also started midstream rebates where the rebate is taken directly off the invoice. These types of programs can be problematic if businesses want to use a specific distributor or contractor that is not in the program.

Midwest & Northwest Offer Strong Incentives but Many Variations
Midwest & Northwest Rebate Area Some of the highest rebates can be found in the Mid- and Northwest regions. One challenge is to navigate the many different available rebate programs. For instance, Washington alone has 31 separate rebate programs, similar to Colorado and Minnesota. Each of the utilities’ programs has their own incentive levels and product requirements, so what worked for one location may not be available just one town over.

Areas Where Funding Goes Quicker Than Anticipated
Rebate Climate History Map Rebate programs typically have set budgets, meaning that program funding can run out for a few months, a year or indefinitely. Typically, we've seen that between 10 - 20% of the rebate programs nationwide run out of funding at some point. While a few programs are currently out of funding, this year we've noticed that several rather large utilities are struggling to meet their program goals.

See a map of how rebates have changed

The Type of Product Makes a Big Difference
Lighting technology The product being used will also influence where the best rebate areas are. For example, Avista Power in Idaho offers a $610 rebate for a LED pole mounted fixture replacing 1000W HID; one of the best in the country. On the other hand, their $6.50 4' tube rebate is close to the national average. Also, some areas don't allow exterior lighting or Type B / Direct Wire retrofits.

How To Find Your Best Rebate Areas

If you have a multi-location project, just reach out to the BriteSwitch team and we can work with you to quickly identify the locations with the best rebates and take care of the entire rebate process for you. If you have your own rebate department, the Top Rebates report in RebatePro uses an algorithm to quickly identify the best rebates across North America for a specific product.

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