Which Lighting Products Get The Highest Rebates?

June 8th, 2021

Change ahead street sign

As LED lighting continues to penetrate the market, people assume rebates for these products must be dwindling. In reality, commercial lighting rebates continue to be strong as ever. While rebates for some upgrades, like screw-in A19's and PARs, have decreased over the years, some product categories can still receive very significant incentives.

The dollar amounts typically relate to the potential energy savings, product cost, complexity of installation and adoption levels in the marketplace. Rebates exist to help utilities get their customers to save energy, so the types of upgrades that would get the best rebates are pretty obvious; it's the ones that result in high energy savings.

Looking through all the programs across North America, we've determined the 4 lighting products with the highest average rebate amounts.

High Bay Fixtures

High Bay LED UFO Lights in Warehouse
LED high bay fixtures have the highest average rebate in North America

High bays have the highest average rebate across North America at $120 per fixture. It's easy to understand the logic; these fixtures often replace HIDs and save anywhere from 40% to 60% in energy. Even when replacing more efficient T5HO and T8 options, users can still achieve measurable energy savings. Therefore, it makes sense that rebate programs incentivize these types of fixtures so highly. Rebates for high bays can range depending on wattage or lumen output, but don't usually vary based on the type (i.e., a linear fixture and a round/UFO fixture would have a similar rebate if they're similar wattage/lumens).

High Bay LED UFO Lights in Warehouse
LED high bay fixtures have the highest average rebate in North America

Pole Lights

LED pole lights in office parking lot
Because of the high energy savings, LED pole lights can receive the 2nd highest rebate

Similar to LED high bays, LED pole lights offer huge energy-saving potential and, therefore, can receive high rebates as well. The average incentive for an LED Pole Light is $97 per fixture. While screw-in mogul-base upgrades are also an option, the rebates for those are considerably less, only $53 per lamp. There are two DLC categories for pole lights: "Area and Roadway" and "Decorative." Very few rebate programs distinguish between the two, so customers can go as traditional or creative as they want when choosing an LED option. Make sure to check the program you're planning to use; some utilities only incentivize daytime peak demand reduction, meaning exterior lighting is ineligible.

Parking Garage Lighting

parking garage with led lighting
One property management company received $100 per fixture for 5 of its parking garages

Parking garage fixtures are a no-brainer when it comes to incentives. The lighting operates 24/7 in many cases, making it an excellent opportunity for savings, and therefore rebates. In addition, these facilities traditionally have HID or Fluorescent solutions. The average rebate for parking garage fixtures across North America is $94 per fixture.

parking garage with led lighting
One property management company received $100 per fixture for 5 of its parking garages

Wall-mounted Outdoor Fixtures

LED wall packs on a warehouse exterior
LED Wallpacks get the 4th highest rebate in North America

Most commercial buildings in the US have wall-mounted light fixtures around the perimeter, making them a great target from a rebate perspective. The existing fixtures are typically HID and operate around 4,100 hours a year on average. By switching to LED, users can save a lot in this type of application. Because of this potential, the average incentive for LED wall-mounted fixtures is $91 per fixture. Exterior lighting has been one of the segments to adopt LED lighting quickly, but there are still many potential projects. According to the most recent DOE estimate, only 45.8% of exterior lighting has upgraded to LED so far.

Do Controls Get High Rebates?

Occupancy sensor on an LED high bay fixture
Installing controls on any of these fixtures can result in an even higher incentive

On their own, lighting controls don't make the list of top rebate eligible lighting products, but combining these products with any of the fixtures above would result in even higher amounts. Sometimes the additional incentive is a fixed dollar amount; in other cases, it's based on how many watts the sensor or timer controls. In addition, luminaire level lighting controls (LLLC) and networked lighting controls can potentially earn even more, sometimes up to double.

Occupancy sensor on an LED high bay fixture
Installing controls on any of these fixtures can result in an even higher incentive

Don't Forget About Cost Caps

When you're dealing with such high rebate amounts, it's important to remember to take cost caps into account. A cost cap is a maximum percentage of the cost that the rebate program is willing to pay. Depending on the program, they could consider material, labor or total project cost. For example, a utility may offer a rebate of $200 for a high bay fixture, but they limit, or cap, the actual amount to 50% of material cost. You can learn more about cost caps here.

The Rebate Amount Is Not Always Crystal Clear

The above rebate amounts are the average across North America, but the actual rebate you will see can vary. Even a single utility can have various rebate amounts for one fixture type depending on its wattage or lumens. For example, the high bay rebate for Duke Energy in North Carolina varies from $25 - $300 per fixture, depending on what lighting is being replaced.

Example: Working the Rebate Programs For the Highest Rebate

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We worked with a granite retailer in NJ who wanted to upgrade their old HID lighting in their outdoor showroom. They had two choices, a 150W / 20,864-lumen fixture and a 209W / 28,989-lumen fixture. While the lower wattage fixture would have produced higher energy savings, light levels were important here so customers could best evaluate the quality of the granite slabs. The facility manager was on the fence, but because of how the NJ program worked, they actually received an extra $25 rebate per fixture by going with the higher light output model, making it an easy choice.

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Take Advantage of These Rebates

If you are working on a project using any of these types of lighting, make sure to research the rebate potential. With such high rebate amounts, the payback for an upgrade could significantly improve the financials. It's essential to look into these early in the process, so you can make sure the fixture you choose meets the program requirements and be aware of any deadlines that may affect the project.

If you are planning a project and need help with estimating and filing rebates, BriteSwitch can get you the most money with no hassle. If you're looking to find the areas of the US with the best incentives for these products, you can use the Top Rebates rebates report in RebatePro to see that data within minutes.

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