High Efficiency Lighting

Rebates & Incentives

Rebates & Incentives
Commercial
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Austin Energy

Customer Energy Solutions

721 Barton Springs Road

Austin, TX 78704

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Save Money & Energy
Save Money & Energy

Saving energy and money go hand-in-hand. We can all contribute to reducing Austin’s energy demand by making simple lifestyle changes and energy-efficient home improvements. When demand decreases, we all save. Austin Energy is committed to helping our customers achieve the greatest savings possible.

Illuminate your business and save money.

We offer rebates to install high efficiency lighting that can help your business save energy and money. 

Lighting typically makes up 20-40% of your electric bill. There are numerous existing inefficient lighting systems that can be replaced with a variety of high efficiency lighting technologies. Energy-efficient lights provide superior lighting quality and save energy and money.

Austin Energy offers rebates to commercial customers who install high-efficiency lighting technologies. These include energy-efficient T8 or T5 fluorescent lamps, light emitting diode (LED) lights and other energy-efficient lighting upgrades.

This rebate is for existing commercial buildings only.  We also offer new construction rebates that include lighting.

More Savings Opportunities for Small Businesses

Qualified small businesses, small non-profits, and houses of worship may also be eligible for a 30% bonus rebate on our standard commercial rebates. This bonus rebate applies only to retrofits for a wide range of improvements.

Learn more about bonus rebates

Also, Austin Energy’s Small Business Outreach Program provides small businesses, small non-profits, and houses of worship with free, personalized conservation and energy efficiency guidance to rebates and incentives offered by the City of Austin.

Learn more about our Small Business Outreach Program

Call Austin Energy at 512-482-5346 or email Small Business Outreach to schedule your free assessment or learn more about bonus rebates.

PACE Financing Available

Austin Energy provides various opportunities for our customers to purchase energy efficient technologies. Many of these reduce energy consumption and enhance comfort and indoor air quality for your customers. PACE is an effective financing approach. Travis and Williamson County PACE programs enable owners of non-profit, commercial, and industrial properties to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for water and energy efficiency improvements and solar generation retrofits.  

Private sector lenders finance qualified improvements and property owners voluntarily agree to contractual assessments imposed on the property. PACE improvements generate positive cash flow with no out-of-pocket cost to the property owner. If the property is sold before the full amount is repaid, the repayment obligation automatically transfers to the next owner. PACE assessments complement Austin Energy incentive programs. 

Other Energy Efficiency Incentives

Increasing energy efficiency in your building saves your business money.  Our Commercial Rebates help you make energy efficiency improvements that can reduce operational costs by saving you money on your monthly bill. We provide rebates on these energy efficiency improvements and more:

Austin Energy offers the following rebates to customers with existing buildings for the following high-efficiency lighting equipment:

Technology Rebate Level
T-5 and T-8 high-efficiency lighting systems $300/kilowatt (kW) reduced
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) $300/kW reduced
Light emitting diode (LED) exit signs $25/sign
Hardwire incandescent to fluorescent fixture conversion $300/kW reduced
HID/fluorescent systems $350/kW reduced
Relamping & reballasting existing fluorescent fixtures $300/kW reduced
Group re-lamping (must relamp entire facility) $300/kW reduced
Cold cathode $350/kW reduced
LED $420/kW reduced
New construction lighting
Learn more about New Construction Rebates
$125/kW reduced

Prerequisites

  • Commercial rebates are available for Austin Energy customers with commercial electric service. Businesses located on properties with residential electric service should refer to Austin Energy residential rebates.
  • The building where the equipment will be installed must comply with the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance (unless exempt or located outside of Austin city limits).
  • Multifamily properties applying for commercial rebates (for master-metered properties or work undertaken in common spaces) must meet all Multifamily Program and equipment installation requirements. Properties must not be on not be listed with the City of Austin Code Department’s Repeat Offender Program.
  • For standard retrofits and equipment replacement, applicants must submit rebate applications prior to installation. For new construction projects, applications must be submitted before the certificate of occupancy is issued. Rebates will not be provided retroactively to equipment or retrofits that have already been installed.
  • Rebates are only available for equipment or retrofits that:
    • use electricity as its primary or secondary fuel type (please refer to Texas Gas Service for rebates on natural gas equipment);
    • provide a necessary business function and operate between 3:00pm to 6:00pm on weekdays during June through September (schools and houses of worship are exempt from these requirements);
    • provide kW savings by exceeding requirements for energy efficiency listed in City of Austin Energy Code Chapter 25-12-261 or as determined by Austin Energy;
    • are new, energized, and have a minimum one year warranty (backup or redundant systems are not eligible); and
    • are installed in permanent buildings or structures.

Specific Requirements

  1. All lighting, lamps, ballasts, retrofit kits and/or fixtures must be approved by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory such as UL, ITSNA, or CSA.
  2. All lighting retrofit projects will follow IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) foot candle-level recommendations. If project light levels do not meet IES-recommended light levels, Austin Energy reserves the right to withhold rebate payment.
  3. All lighting retrofit projects require a site visit for the verification of existing lighting prior to work being started in the facility.
  4. The fixtures being retrofitted must be energized and in operation.
  5. A site visit for final verification of installed lighting must be conducted. The final rebate amount will be adjusted based on the final verification.

Re-lamping and Re-ballasting of Existing Fluorescent Fixtures

This category requires all existing lamps and ballast(s) to be replaced with new lamps and electronic ballasts.

Specific qualifications for electronic ballasts:

  1. Meet Federal Efficiency Law 100-357.
  2. Meet EMI and RFI specifications of the FCC regulations.
  3. Meet National Electric Code installation provisions and UL Class P protection standards.
  4. Power factor of 0.9 or greater (excluding CFLs and cold cathode lamps).
  5. Must operate at high frequency of 20 kHz or greater.
  6. Use electronic components to alter voltage and limit current.
  7. Current crest factor of 1.7 or less.
  8. Total harmonic distortion (THD) shall not exceed 20%.
  9. The ballast must be compatible with the new lamps.
  10. Minimum 15-year-rated ballast life.
  11. Minimum two-year product warranty from the date of installation.

Incandescent to Fluorescent Conversions

An incandescent to fluorescent conversion is the modification of an incandescent fixture by installing a hard-wired compact fluorescent fixture.

Specific qualifications for incandescent to fluorescent conversions:

  1. The ballast (excluding CFLs) must have a power factor of 0.9 or greater.
  2. The lamp must have a current crest factor less than 1.7 and have a minimum rated life of 10,000 hours.
  3. Minimum one-year product warranty from the date of installation.

Screw-In/CFL Bulb Replacement

Screw-in fluorescent lamps are simple replacements for incandescent sockets and can significantly reduce wattage without negatively affecting lighting levels.

Qualifying lamp types include:

  1. Screw-in CFLs must be EPA, Energy Star labeled.
  2. Screw-in cold cathode lamps - minimum rated life of 25,000 hours.
  3. Ceramic metal halide lamps.

LED Lighting

All LED products must be UL Listed (or approved by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory).

It is recommended that all products also meet the quality and performance specifications of the Designlights Consortium qualified product list for commercial grade solid state lighting (LED) and/or ENERGY STAR® Certified Commercial Light Fixtures and Light Bulbs.

LED technology may replace incandescent, fluorescent, HID or neon technology.  Screw- in, stab-in, hardwire, rope or low-voltage retrofits are eligible.

All installed LED lighting equipment must have a minimum rated life of 25,000 hours.

Exit Sign Retrofit or Replacement (Incandescent or Fluorescent to LED)

  1. New kits/replacements must use LED technology or kits using illuminated input wattage signs.
  2. All installed LED lighting equipment must have a minimum rated life of 25,000 hours.

Group Re-Lamping

This lighting strategy involves the systematic replacement of all fluorescents lamps at a pre-determined interval. The primary benefit is avoided maintenance expenses. Rebates will be based on fluorescent to fluorescent rebate amount in $/kW. This conversion must represent a reduction in the resulting lamp wattage.

Specific qualifications for group re-lamping:

  1. Area to be group re-lamped must be clearly defined.
  2. Replacement lamps must be compatible with existing fixture ballasts.
  3. Lamps must carry a minimum one-year warranty.
  4. Existing (or proposed) system must be a T8 lighting system with electronic lamp/ballast combination.
  5. This lamp rebate may be combined with re-lamp and re-ballast applications, where applicable.

H.I.D. to Fluorescent or Induction

Existing buildings with H.I.D. lighting in high-bay applications (and other areas) are good candidates for converting to high efficiency T-8 or T-5 fluorescent lighting. A significant reduction in wattage can be achieved without compromising lighting quality or quantity. No retrofits are allowed – the rebate can be applied to new fixtures only.

Commercial Rebate Program Requirements

  • Austin Energy can help customers evaluate energy efficiency opportunities for their business or organization. Please email us for assistance on calculating potential rebates or other technical guidance.
  • Applications must qualify to receive at least $25 in rebates.
  • The customer or contractor applying for the rebate must:
    • submit all required application information and equipment documentation (incomplete applications are placed on hold and may be cancelled after 90 days); and
    • agree to schedule pre-installation and post-installation site visits to allow Austin Energy staff to verify existing and installed equipment.
  • For customers or properties applying for a rebate to upgrade or retrofit the same equipment that received a historical Austin Energy rebate within the past 10 years, the new rebate will be calculated based on the incremental energy savings. For example, if a customer or property received a historical lighting rebate, any new lighting equipment rebates will be calculated using the incremental energy savings between the existing and new equipment. Exemptions for this requirement due to emergency replacement of failed equipment are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • A 30% bonus rebate is available for eligible: 1) locally owned or franchised small-business customers; 2) small 501(c) non-profit organizations; 3) and houses of worship. Contact us to determine if you qualify.
    • Eligible small businesses must: 1) provide a W-9 verifying the business is locally owned or franchised (headquartered in the Austin metropolitan area); and 2) have an average monthly peak summer demand (June through September) lower than 300 kW.
    • Eligible small non-profits must: 1) provide an IRS determination letter or similar IRS documentation verifying their tax-exempt 501(c) status; and 2) have an average monthly peak summer demand (June through September) lower than 300 kW. Tax exempt real estate trusts and housing co-ops are not eligible to receive this bonus.
    • All houses of worship are eligible, regardless of average peak summer demand.
  • Rebates will not be paid unless all installed equipment and retrofits comply with manufacturer requirements and all local, state, and federal regulations, including building code and permitting requirements. For requirements on when electrical permits are required, refer to City of Austin Municipal Code chapter 25-12-113, section 80.19(c). For requirements on when permits are required for mechanical work, refer to City of Austin Municipal code chapter 25-12-133, section 104.2. For more information on mechanical, electrical, and building permits contact the City of Austin Department of Development Services.
  • Commercial Program rebates are subject to capping based on the total project cost related to the installation of the rebated equipment or retrofits. The applicant is responsible for reporting total job cost and Austin Energy reserves the right to require a signed, itemized invoice or work order for verification.
    • Standard Commercial Program rebates cannot exceed 50% of total job costs.
    • Rebates cannot exceed 80% of total job costs for locally owned small businesses, non-profits, and houses of worship that receive the 30% bonus.
  • By default, the rebate payment is directed to the customer listed on the Austin Energy electric account. The rebate may also be directed to one of the below parties if all requirements are met.
    • A parent corporation or organization of the account holder
    • The building owner, verified using county tax records
    • A tenant at the property, whom must provide a letter signed by the account holder authorizing the rebate to be paid to the tenant
    • A participating contractor or any other 3rd party, whom must: 1) register as a City of Austin vendor; 2) register in Austin Energy's rebate processing system; and 3) provide a letter signed by the account holder authorizing the rebate to be paid to that party
  • If a participating contractor plans to submit more than one rebate application on behalf of Austin Energy customers, they are required to: 1) register as a City of Austin vendor; and 2) register in Austin Energy's rebate processing system.
  • Austin Energy reserves the right to deny or adjust all rebate applications.
  • Participating contractors must comply with all program requirements and conduct business in an honest, professional, and ethical manner. All participating contractors must abide by the Austin Energy Code of Conduct and Ethical Requirements (pdf)​.

Interested?

We can help you learn more about your rebate and savings options before you apply.

Request an Assessment

Apply for a Rebate Online

You can apply for your rebate online. To make applying easier, have all required information on hand before you start.

Apply Online

Are You Waiting For a Rebate?

Use the confirmation (enrollment) and utility account numbers to check the status of your rebate application.

Check Status

Comply with ECAD to Qualify for Rebate

If your building is over 10,000 sq ft, you must be in compliance with the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance. ECAD promotes energy efficiency by identifying potential energy savings for your business. You can choose one of two reporting options that best serve your business.

Learn more about ECAD for Commercial Buildings

Contact Austin Energy for More Information

Call 512-482-5346 or email Commercial Rebates if you have any questions about our rebates.

Apply for Your Rebate Online

All rebate applications are online. You must submit your rebate application prior to installation (Austin Energy must approve any exceptions). You will receive your rebate within four to six weeks after we give final approval for your rebate application. We send your rebate check to the business listed on the Payee section of your application unless you specify otherwise.

The City Council approves projects where rebates could exceed the City Manager's administrative spending authority under the City Charter, which is $61,000 for fiscal year 2019. Please allow time for this approval.

The following information will be required for the Existing and New equipment:

  • Quantity
  • Fixture Type
  • Fixture Description
  • Fixture Wattage

Tips for Applying Online

  • Use a modern browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer 9 or higher.
  • You need to complete your online Commercial Rebate application in a single session. 
  • To make applying easier, have all available information on hand before beginning the application.
  • If your application requires supporting documentation, such as invoices or sales receipts, you will need to scan or photograph these documents and upload into the application system. The system will accept any of the following file formats:
    • Adobe Acrobat PDF (.pdf)
    • Microsoft Word Document (.doc or .docx)
    • JPEG (.jpg)
    • ZIP (.zip)
  • Check your rebate status using the confirmation (enrollment) number you receive after the application submission. You will also need your City of Austin utility account number, if applicable.

Additional Documents

Commercial Rebate Summary (pdf)

Disclaimer

Funding is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Offerings, program guidelines, and rebate levels are subject to change without notice. Rebate funds are encumbered (committed to be paid) during the fiscal year in which they are to be dispersed.

The Austin City Council must approve rebates of more than $61,000. The maximum combined rebate is $300,000 per customer site per fiscal year (October through September).



Date last reviewed or modified: 6/12/19
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