Utility Incentives | July 16, 2020

New York Utility Incentive Programs [2020 Update]

Utility incentives are no secret: they exist to help buildings cover the cost of efficiency projects designed to lower energy use. And right now, there’s a burning platform for commercial/industrial facilities in New York City and the surrounding area to get efficiency projects qualified for these incentives, and these incentives have never been better. Here’s why.


About utility incentives for New York energy efficiency projects

Con Edison (Consolidated Edison Co) is the largest utility in New York and provides power for over 10 million people who live and work in New York City and Westchester County. This includes many commercial and industrial buildings.

Alongside the development of the energy efficiency industry since the mid-1970s, utility companies have evolved their incentive structure. Today, most utility companies offer incentives and rebates for customers committed to lowering their energy use because – simply put – lower energy use helps utilities manage the demand for their generated power.

These incentives are key for large companies tackling projects worth $100,000 or far more. These subsidies can cut a significant portion of project cost.

Utility incentives and efficiency rebate programs are readily available … for now

Utility incentives are inevitably not an endless resource. When will utilities stop offering these programs or start cutting back available funding? Next year? In 10 years? These programs evolve every year, so while we can’t predict the future, we know that money is currently available for 2020 projects.

The impact of COVID-19 on incentives across the country

As we all know, the greater New York region almost completely closed down starting in March 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. This resulted in three outcomes:

  1. Few companies could build or install efficiency solutions

  2. Which meant very few projects qualifying for available incentive money were pursued

  3. Which now means a large portion of those funds – which must be allocated by the end of 2020 – are still available

COVID-19 (1)How much money are we talking about?

The amount of available funding for efficiency measures depends on how your project is built, so most large commercial/industrial companies will want to work with an energy service company or specialized engineering firm to qualify a custom project.

Con Edison has recently announced what they’re calling “limited-time bonus installation incentives” for projects completed by November 15, 2020. These can include measures such as custom LED lighting, VFDs, steam trap and pipe insulation projects.

While exact dollar figures really depend on the scope of the project and how well it’s been engineered to both increase efficiency and improve onsite operations, their incentives have increased by a significant percentage across the board. This program is specifically designed to “incentivize” companies to complete projects this year.

Why Local Law 97 matters now

Most New York City property owners/operators are now familiar with last spring’s legislation. Part of the Climate Mobilization Act, Local Law 97 impacts buildings over 25,000 square feet in the five boroughs. The bill states carbon emissions limits and corresponding fines for buildings that don’t comply. As these limits are set to go into effect within less than four years, companies will need to act soon to avoid hefty fines down the road.

Take action now

  • You can leverage record-high ConEd utility incentives to help cover Local Law 97 project cost
  • You will have to implement many of these changes by 2024

In the next four years as Local Law 97 is enacted, ConEd incentives are likely to go down, so buildings in NYC should take advantage now and start exploring your options.

This blog post is part of a multi-post series surrounding the new legislation Local Law 97, affecting thousands of buildings and businesses across New York City. This series aims to look at multiple viewpoints on the new law and how it can affect your business, as well as how you can work to avoid noncompliance fines by acting today. For more information, download Mantis Innovation's free eBook below.


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