If you attended our February webinar [View the webinar Utility Rebates: What's New in 2019 here] you learned that LED HID replacement lamps are the new kid on the block with regard to utility LED rebates. Within the last 6 months they are most added category to utility rebate programs.
To review, here is the slide from the webinar:
SOURCE: Encentiv Energy Webinar, February 26, 2019, “Utility Rebates: What's New in 2019”
Let’s dive deeper into this technology and how utilities are incorporating them into their rebate programs. We can also take a look at how manufacturers are doing with registering those products with the DesignLights Consortium® (DLC®), and get a view into the future of this technology and utility rebates.
These LED replacement lamps are meant to replace HID screw-in lamps in commercial and industrial applications. Typically the existing technology is metal halide or high pressure sodium bulbs with an E39 or “mogul” base. The DLC has limited the bulbs that can be registered to UL Type B (Internal Driver) and UL Type C (External Driver). UL Type A, the typical “plug and play” style, are not currently acceptable for registration. DLC Premium is not available for this category of lamp.
The DLC has further defined the acceptable Primary Uses of these lamps:
-High Bay Luminaires
-Low Bay Luminaires
-Parking Garage Luminaires
-Fuel Pump Canopy Luminaires
-Outdoor Pole/Arm-Mounted Area and Roadway Luminaires
-Outdoor Pole/Arm-Mounted Decorative Luminaires
-Outdoor Full-Cutoff Wall-Mounted Area Luminaires
Currently there are about 130 programs (utilities that share a common program are counted as one) in the US & Canada that offer incentives for these products. Of those, about 110 offer incentives through their downstream program (rebates filed by customer), and about 25 that offer incentives through their mid/upstream program (rebates filed by distributors).
The following table shows the national high, low, and average for the fixed dollar amount per unit rebates:
While the incentives are clearly higher in the downstream programs than in the midstream programs, there is a lot of variability in the rebate depending on geography and use case. For example, the $610 rebate is only for 1000 HID replacements in a single utility. Downstream rebates are still much more prevalent than their midstream counterparts. The limited range of rebates in the midstream program reflects the issue utilities grapple with for these higher wattage luminaires in their programs in that the midstream programs have to reflect a duller average value across many use cases in order to simplify the paperwork, whereas the downstream program can capture more information about the specific installation and therefore can be more accurate about specific savings opportunities, so the range of rebates can be wider and reflect the actual energy savings.
Future and Issues
As this technology becomes more prevalent, utility programs will continue to add them. Utilities are strong believers in “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Midstream complications. Due to the wider range of applications from a wattage/lumen package perspective, utilities may be forced to “complicate” their midstream program in order to hit their goals. The complication would be greater data collection and M&V requirements placed on distributors.
DLC 5.0 and Dimming. The initial draft of the proposed DLC 5.0 SSL Technical Requirement adds a new requirement for dimming capability for all luminaires, retrofit kits and lamps. As of this writing, that would mean 90% of the LED HID replacement lamps would be delisted and not qualified for utility rebates. As we mentioned, this topic was hotly debated at the DLC® Stakeholder Meeting. It remains to be seen which way this requirement will go. Will an exception be made for these lamps? Stay tuned.
AUTHORED BY Mike Cham
CTO, Encentiv Energy