Did you know that power companies will pay you to use energy-efficient grow lights? It's much less expensive for power producers to subsidize lights than to build new power plants. The actual amount of the fixture price they are willing to subsidize depends on the power producer. Some pay a small amount, and others give out quite a bit. Be warned that earning rebates and incentives can be lengthy and complicated.
DesignLights Consortium (DLC)
The DLC plays a critical part in getting incentives and rebates. They are a non-profit organization that sets standards to be included in their list of approved fixtures. Most power companies require the fixture to be listed in the DLC for a payout. Others, like Excel Energy in Colorado, pay a lower rate for non-listed fixtures but still pay some.
The DLC does not maintain its own testing lab. Instead, they require third-party testing. Both safety and performance tests are performed. Once a fixture completes testing, these results and all the specification sheets about the LEDs and drivers are submitted for review. Once approved, they get listed on the DLC's Horticultural Qualified Product List (Hort QLP).
After creating an account, anyone can look up a fixture and see if it is listed and how it performs. This can be extremely helpful when making fixture choices. You can compare spectra, power draw, and efficacies, to name a few.
Rebates are given out post-retrofit. Power companies' requirements vary in how long you are required to operate the existing lights before upgrading. This gives the electrical producers a baseline on existing power usage. Once the retrofit is complete, the new fixtures must be in operation for some time (can be as long a year or more) to determine how much power is saved. A potential rebate is calculated on the amount of savings.
Incentives must be applied before lights are installed. These typically have extended lead times (6 months plus sometimes), so start early. The amount of the incentive varies between power producers. The efficacy of the chosen fixture can play into the size of the rebate. More efficient fixtures get more significant incentives.
Can I apply for incentives/rebates myself?
You can apply for incentives and rebates, but it's not recommended. Working with one of the consulting firms on your rebates/incentives is highly advised. Make sure you choose a rebate partner with experience in horticulture. There are many rebate consultants for other industries, but they don't know the ins and outs of our industry.
These consultants have relationships with the power companies. They know the processes and the people involved. This results in quicker turnarounds and increased rebates. They get paid by taking a percentage of the overall rebate/incentive, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses.