Oregonians won’t see clean energy rebates until mid
Jun 25, 2023
The exterior heat pump unit outside a home in Northwest Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Oregonians won’t be able to apply for generous home electrification and efficiency rebates -- including for heat pump installation -- until mid-2024 or later. Sean Meagher/The Oregonian
Do you need financial help to switch to an electric stove, improve your home’s insulation or install a new heat pump system?
The Oregon Department of Energy says Oregonians won’t be able to apply for generous home electrification and efficiency rebates until mid-2024 or later, according to a document released this week.
The rebates, which won’t be retroactive, will be funded through the federal Inflation Reduction Act, the mammoth clean energy bill Congress approved last year. Oregon is poised to receive $113 million for the rebates.
But the program, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the resilience of homes to extreme weather and lessen indoor and outdoor air pollution, is yet to be developed.
The slow rollout is no fault of Oregon. It wasn’t until the end of July that the federal government released guidance for states to apply for the new Home Energy Rebates Program.
Oregon will now develop its own rebates program and create rules to administer it. The public will be able to weigh in on the rules.
The rebates program includes two initiatives. One will provide rebates of $2,000 to $4,000 for energy efficiency retrofits for individual households and multifamily buildings. They will be available regardless of income, though a percentage of the rebates must go to lower income households.
Retrofits can include installing more efficient equipment such as a heat pump or water heater, weatherization measures like insulation and air sealing, devices such as smart thermostats, with higher incentives available for projects that lead to higher energy savings.
The other initiative will provide point-of-sale rebates via a retailer or contractor to low- and moderate-income households for the installation of high-efficiency electric appliances and electric upgrades, along with insulation and air sealing measures.
Low-income households will be eligible for up to $14,000 in rebates to switch over to electric appliances, including up to $8,000 for a heat pump, which provides heating, air conditioning and hot water. The discount can cover up to 100% of project costs, including purchase and installation, for low-income households and up to 50% of costs for moderate-income households.
Confused by the options? As part of a climate resilience package approved earlier this summer, the Oregon Department of Energy will create a resource hub for people to find rebate and tax break information, technical assistance, financing options and contractors for installation of heat pumps, insulation and other retrofits.
Those who can’t wait for the rebates can already apply for a 30% tax credit for energy efficient home improvements – including insulation, heat pumps and windows – and for residential clean energy projects such as solar, wind and battery storage.
The State of Oregon also offers financial assistance in installing heat pumps through local organizations and through contractors in rental homes. The Energy Trust of Oregon also offers additional incentives.
Local utilities also offer rebate and incentive programs to customers for the installation of energy efficient technologies.
In addition, Oregon currently operates a low-income weatherization program which provides low-income households with home weatherization services.
– Gosia Wozniacka; [email protected]; @gosiawozniacka
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