Government Funding

How to Use “Save on Energy” Business Electricity Rebates

How Ontario Businesses can Save on Energy

The Save on Energy program is an energy efficiency and conservation program provided through the Government of Ontario and the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Programs offered through the Save on Energy program support both businesses and homeowners, however, few businesses are aware of the range of incentives available.

This is a missed opportunity for many business owners and executives, since Save on Energy can assist small retail stores up to large industrial manufacturers. Programs help fund energy audits, retrofits, and controlling electricity demand at peak usage times. Organizations who use Save on Energy can reduce the cost of projects, but more importantly, consistently reduce their energy costs over time.

Has your business used Save on Energy incentives in the past? For many Ontario companies, there is still confusion about the programs provided by Save on Energy; this has become a barrier preventing its use.

This article will help businesses learn how to find the incentives currently available to them, and how to apply for funding.

Does Your Local Electrical Utility Support Save on Energy?

Fortunately for Ontario business owners, electric utility companies across the province offer elements of the Save on Energy program. Depending on regional needs, some incentives may be provided by one utility company but not another. For this reason, businesses should be proactive in searching and understanding which incentives are available.

Find Your Local Electric Utility

The easiest way to understand the full range of programs available to your business is by searching for your local electric utility. There are two ways of doing this through Save on Energy’s website:

  1. Search by Postal Code: If unsure which electric utility is most appropriate, businesses may use their postal code to search for eligible incentives.
  2. Search by Electric Utility: If a business is already aware of who their local electric utility is, they can select it from a list of all utilities across Ontario.

Find Business Energy Rebates to Offset Project Costs

Upon choosing a local electric utility, Save on Energy’s website will provide a more specific, targeted set of programs for businesses to use. Now, searching through your local electric utility, businesses should choose the ‘My Programs’ toolbar navigation feature to see current opportunities. Generally, this should provide a list of 2-6 programs that are active and open for businesses to apply towards.

Businesses may evaluate these programs independently, or, if you wish to consult a Government Funding Planner™, please contact Mentor Works.

Business Energy Rebates Offered through Save on Energy

Not all Save on Energy business incentives are widely available. Companies should use the steps outlined above to narrow down the possible funding programs and find those available in their area. For further detail on what to expect from the most popular programs, consult the following list:

  • Audit Funding: Businesses may receive up to 50% of the cost of a certified energy audit. Energy audits are often considered the first step of any energy conservation program; these assess current energy use and identify the potential for energy savings through a variety of projects.
  • Demand Response: Companies may intelligently reduce their monthly energy costs by managing electricity consumption and generation during peak times. When demand for energy is high, rates increase and cause users to pay more. This cost can be managed in several ways, like shifting production to off-peak times, or switching to on-site power generation. This will save the average business money throughout the year; however, companies able to generate significant amounts of power may be able to qualify for a subset of the program where electricity can be generated and sold back to the IESO during peak demand.
  • Existing Building Commissioning: This program helps to improve the efficiency of Chilled Water Systems that are more than three years old. Businesses will be able to offset a portion of costs related to hiring an expert to scope (≥$2,500), investigate (≥$30,000), implement (≥$5,000), and complete (≥$2,500) the project. Each project phase has unique criteria to determine how much funding is awarded.
  • High Performance New Construction Program: Provides funding to construct or renovate high-efficiency buildings that reduce peak energy demand or consumption. Major building renovations (including the replacement of commercial lighting or unitary air conditioners) or new buildings engineered to surpass the 2012 Ontario Building Code (OBC) will qualify to receive funding for incremental energy conservation. To receive funding, businesses must receive approval prior to starting an eligible project.
  • New Home Construction: Encourages new home builders and renovators to construct energy-efficient homes. Funding is provided for purchasing energy-efficient products, achieving certain energy efficiency ratings, or based on the amount of energy saved over a given period of time.
  • Process and Systems Upgrades Program: Assists organizations with complex systems or processes to internally identify, implement, and validate energy efficiency projects. There are three streams of funding; all offer variable incentives based on the size of business and how much electricity is saved over the course of the project. Each stream maintains a unique focus, including the support of (1) capital investments, (2) engineering studies, and (3) consultation with a technical advisor.
  • Retrofit: Offers funding for projects providing sustained reductions in peak electricity demand or consumption, and can be verified over time. This includes upgrades to lighting, motors and air compressors, and control systems improving a building’s operational efficiency and comfort levels. Funding is awarded based on total energy savings; however, certain measures and contribution levels may vary from one electrical utility to the next.
  • Small Business Lighting: Small offices (those demanding less than 100kW annually) can receive free lighting assessments and up to $2,000 in Ontario government funding to install high-efficiency lighting systems. This amount can cover both lighting and installation fees.

Is a Save on Energy program you’re interested not listed above? Contact Mentor Works to discuss your project and understand more funding options, including government grants and loans.

How Businesses Have Successfully Used Save on Energy

For years, businesses across Ontario have used Save on Energy programs to great success. Some of the ways companies are using the program include:

  • Small Business Lighting: A small bicycle store used Save on Energy’s Small Business Lighting program to replace traditional halogen lights with high-efficiency LED lights. The change meant the lights produced less heat and made store merchandise look more attractive. Energy costs dropped and profitability increased.
  • Industrial Lighting I: A management company owning warehouse, commercial, and industrial space recently renovated a 145,300 square-foot Mississagua, Ontario property. Using the Retrofit Program, 319 new high-efficiency lighting fixtures and 272 motion sensors were installed. As result, the business obtained over $42,000 in Save on Energy funding and improved energy savings by over $60,000 per year. As result, the project payback period decreased to an impressive 13 months. Saving were passed onto the buildings tenants, which proved to be a valuable customer-retention strategy.
  • Industrial Lighting II: Another Save on Energy Retrofit Program project resulted in annual savings of more than $270,000 annually; this time, funding supported a St. Catharines-based automotive manufacturer. The auto parts manufacturer received $156,000 to assist the replacing of inefficient lighting fixtures with newer fluorescent lamps with motion sensors. As result, work spaces have become brighter and more efficient, and the facility runs at a cooler temperature which further improves the efficiency of other equipment.
  • Air Compressors: Some automotive parts require significant amounts of compressed air to complete the manufacturing process. Since running air compressors is an energy-intensive process, purchasing compressor systems that allow for variable speeds can help lower energy use when full capacity isn’t required. One automotive manufacturer used Save on Energy’s Retrofit program for this type of technology and reduced their peak energy demand by 206 kilowatts; this led to savings of $168,000 per year.
  • Manufacturing Retrofits: In Ajax, Ontario, an automotive manufacturer used Save on Energy’s Retrofit Program for multiple projects. To lower operating costs, the business installed variable-capacity air compressors and lighting. Combined, air compression and lighting used to make upwards of 30-40% of the business’ operating costs. By replacing both, the company experienced unprecedented and sustained profitability improvements.

How to Apply for Save on Energy Funding Programs

Each of the Save on Energy funding programs referenced through this article have a unique set of application forms and reporting requirements. Most programs can be applied for throughout the year, but businesses should contact their local electrical utility to confirm whether certain programs are available. Businesses can then work directly with their utility provider to complete the application process.

Mentor Works can also gauge your eligibility for other government funding and provide comprehensive application support. Contact us to learn how to accelerate the application process.

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works

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