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February 11, 2020
By Brian Gray
Navigating the efficiency rebate and incentive landscape
Homeowners in Vermont face a lot of challenges. Keeping our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer without spending a fortune on electricity or fossil fuel is one of the big ones.
When you decide that it's time to invest in home efficiency improvements, where do you start? Most people agree that, although rebates and incentives are plentiful in Vermont, sorting through the options to determine which ones apply to you is daunting. What are the different types of programs and how do they work? Let's break it down:
- Direct rebates- Rebates that require you to make the investment first and then provide proof of purchase to get money back
- Upstream rebates – These are price reductions at the wholesale level that are passed through from your contractor to you and are deducted before you are billed for the work.
- Bill Credits – Some electric utilities offer a "credit" to your electric bill rather than a direct cash rebate. It is important to understand the difference.
- Tax Credits – Tax credits are deductions to your taxable income. These are claimed when you do your annual income tax filing.
- Special Promotions - Your utility or contractor may offer additional incentives to act before a certain date or purchase a certain product.
- Income eligible Incentives – Many of the Vermont utilities have an income sensitivity component to their rebates. If your household income meets a certain threshold then you may be eligible for additional rebates or credits.
- No or Low interest financing – There are many organizations and credit unions that offer "Energy Efficiency" loans to pay for your energy upgrades over time. Many of these loans are offered with very low interest rates and depending on income, may be interest free. In many cases the cost of the energy you save each month will pay for your monthly payment.
What do all of these have in common? They all have deadlines, require paperwork and are important to understand the fine print BEFORE the work begins
Chances are that your efficiency upgrade work will qualify for more than one rebate or incentive. That's where the Energy Co-op comes in. Our members can consult with our efficiency and installation experts to navigate through the maze of product and rebate options available for their individual circumstances.
Whether it's a heat pump, a new hot water heater, upgrading to a more efficient heating system, replacing your oil tank or adding insulation to your attic and basement, you can count on the Co-op. We'll provide a free estimate, a fair price and explore all available options so you can "use less and save more".
Below is a partial list of entities that offer rebates for energy efficiency.
Burlington Electric Customers
Efficiency Vermont – All residents of Vermont
Washington Electric Customers
Green Mountain Power Customers
Vermont Electric Co-op Customers
Swanton Electric Customers – Vermont Public Power Supply Authority
Vermont Gas Customers
State of Vermont – Energy Saver
Federal Tax Credits
Efficiency Vermont https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/services/financing/homes
Opportunities Credit Union https://www.oppsvt.org/home-energy-loan/
VSECU - https://www.vsecu.com/financial/clean-energy-loans/unsecured