What's Next for LED Rebates?

The New Protocols for DLC Qualification and Rebate Eligibility

As LED technology continues to advance, and the availability of smart control options has increased in the marketplace, the Design Lights Consortium has worked with lighting manufacturers to establish new DLC rules that allow for additional savings on lights with dimming capability.

In addition to getting smarter, LED lighting is also continually becoming more efficient. Products that meet the current DLC version 5.0 offer 10-23% more lumens per watt than the previous 4.4 version required. And the higher the reduction of energy usage, the better the utility incentive will be.

In addition to higher luminous efficacy requirements, here are some other highlights of the 5.0 DLC qualifications:

New color quality requirements prioritize high CRIs and help ensure color consistency over time.

Glare performance needs have been increased, ensuring that lighting decision makers who choose DLC-Premium products get top-of-the-line optics.

Virtually all DLC-qualified products are now dimmable, providing customers with increased energy savings and more smart controls.

Smart Control Requirements for Rebates

Lighting controls are often seen as the next frontier in energy efficiency. They help lower energy usage even further than switching to standard LED by ensuring lights are only used when and where they are needed. This is why DLC has decided to include dimmability as a requirement for eligibility in version 5.0.

However, rebate programs have struggled to figure out how to easily incentivize this technology. It's easy to know how much energy one customer will save when going from a 400W Metal Halide Pole Light to a 150W LED Shoebox, but controls offer a whole different level of complexity. How often are they on? At what brightness are they used? Controls aren't as straightforward as one-to-one lighting upgrades are. This is why rebate programs are currently experimenting with different ways to incentivize lighting control installations.

For some places, this will mean higher rebate amounts for control-ready products moving forward. In other places, you may be required to measure your energy usage before and after the upgrade for an accurate rebate outlay. Due to the complication that can arise, now that controls are at the forefront of DLC qualification and rebate eligibility, an expert opinion will greatly help your company receive the best incentives possible.

Which States Now Offer Lighting Rebates?

In terms of geographic availability, 74% of the country currently has a commercial lighting rebate program. That number has been relatively consistent over the years, and there's no indication that a large number of programs will disappear in the near future. Even during the COVID-19 crisis, many programs are offering higher rebates—or bonus rebates—to increase participation. This is in an effort to use all the available budget rather than running out of funding.

74% of the US is currently covered by a commercial lighting rebate program.

A Bright Future for LED Rebates

The future is bright for LED rebates. While many people have the misconception that LED rebates are no longer available or that the amounts are too low to be worth the time of researching them, these incentives are out there for the taking and can improve your project's payback by 25% or more.

If you are a contractor considering a project, it's essential to keep looking into rebates to see the opportunities available to you.

If you are looking to upgrade the lighting on your commercial property, you could pay just $1 – or even just $.01 – per fixture, by taking advantage of the incentives in your area!

Check out some of the rebates available in Pennsylvania that helped our customer get lights for $1 apiece to upgrade their parking garage.

Rebate-Eligible Products

Due to the new regulations under the 5.0 version of DLC qualification, some lights that were previously eligible for rebates might not be moving forward. One way to ensure your lighting is future-proofed is to purchase control-ready lighting. With this type of product, you can add controls when you need them –and whether you add controls or not, they still meet the qualifications for DLC 5.0. Want to find out more about control-ready fixtures? Watch our video below on the benefits of control-ready lighting.

Use Our Rebate Chat to Find Incentives in Your Area

Check out our new Rebate Chat Bot to see the rebates available in your area. This new rebate chat tool automatically pulls the best incentives for your LED lighting project based on the products you are interested in, and it can even link you with a representative for help with processing the paperwork. For more info, you can learn more about rebates, use our project payback calculator, or reach out to our lighting experts.

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