In 2015, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) merged under the IESO name to increase synergy between the two agencies and reduce administrative costs. During this merger, several saveONenergy incentives for business (formerly administered by OPA) were rebranded to reflect the new partnership. Businesses can now save on energy efficiency projects through IESO’s saveONenergy programs. Offices of all sizes can access unique small business grants, while manufacturers have specific incentives to encourage a more efficient production environment.
Recent Changes to SaveONenergy Programs
During the rebranding of OPA’s saveONenergy programs, changes were made to reflect feedback received and to make the programs more useful. For businesses who have used saveONenergy programs in the past, please note:
- Funding contributions have changed for some programs;
- Retrofit programs are no longer segmented by size of office; will now focus on the type of projects being completed;
- Businesses now have more incentives to choose from. In addition to the programs mentioned below, saveONenergy’s incentives for business provide niche programs supporting energy efficiency upgrades.
saveONenergy Programs for Small and Large Offices
Through IESO, saveONenergy programs categorize small offices as consumers of less than 100kW annually. Large offices therefore consume greater than 100kW of energy per year.
As a first step in understanding what energy conservation projects can be implemented, small and large offices can receive subsidized energy audits that identify current inefficiencies. Up to 50% of the cost for energy audits will be provided for electricity use analysis, equipment modification analysis, and building systems audits.
Available solely to Ontario small offices (less than 100kW annual demand), these offices can invest in lighting to not just save on utility costs, but to improve customer experiences, increase the effectiveness of merchandise displays, and assist employees to be more productive. Through the Small Business Lighting program, small offices can receive free lighting assessments and up to $2,000 in Ontario government funding to upgrade systems to become more energy efficient. If your business has previously participated in the Power Saving Blitz 2008-2010 or Direct Install Lighting (AKA Small Business Lighting 2011-2015), you are also eligible to apply for this program.
The Retrofit Program has been radically redesigned; small and large businesses will now be processed through one program with three separate streams/incentives. Businesses may receive up to 50% of eligible retrofit expenses.
- Prescriptive Incentives: Pre-defined end-use measures that provide a “per-unit installed” incentive. This includes the installation of lighting, motors, etc. Retrofits are meant for small, easy to finish projects.
- Engineered Incentives: Equipment upgrades involving complex installation and provide considerable energy savings. Applicants will be required to define the technical benefits of the retrofit, in addition to estimating how much energy will be saved on an annual basis. Incentives are calculated based on the amount of energy saved due to the retrofit project.
- Custom Incentives: Complex energy conservation projects not covered by Prescriptive or Engineered Incentives may still receive Ontario government funding contributions. Businesses will need to document their baseline energy use, describe their completed energy conservation project, and the costs of purchasing/installing/disposing of equipment.
Similar to how homeowners must pay more for electricity during “peak use” hours, businesses can alter how much or when electricity is used to save on its cost. Small offices will pay time-of-use rates similar to homeowners, while large businesses and institutions will pay for the market price of their usage, which is automatically calculated and updated frequently throughout the day depending on how much electricity is being drawn from the power grid. These large businesses can control costs by monitoring periods of the year when power is most expensive, then shifting activities to times when energy is cheaper.
Energy Conservation Initiatives for Manufacturers
Manufacturers are eligible to apply for many of the same incentives offered to small and large businesses. Audit Funding, Demand Response, and the Retrofit Program offer manufacturers similar money saving benefits. Manufacturers also have incentive options specifically designed for reducing industrial energy consumption.
Especially for manufacturers, simple retrofits might not provide adequate improvements to complex systems or processes. Through this saveONenergy incentive, manufacturers will be provided the tools and funding needed to identify, implement, and validate energy conservation projects. These projects may include consulting energy managers, or conducting engineering studies prior to investing in system upgrades. Up to 70% of eligible expenses may be provided as an incentive to upgrade current systems.
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