Friday, December 3, 2010

Tampa Electric Offers Solar Water Heating Incentives

As appeared in Solar Thermal Magazine

Tampa Electric received approval yesterday from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to expand its current lineup of energy-efficiency programs for customers. In addition to the new programs and enhancements to existing programs, $1.5 million in incentives will be offered by Tampa Electric each year for five years to help customers install renewable technologies.

Those measures include:

Residential Solar Water Heating — Provides customer incentives up to $1,000 for installing new solar water heating systems. Solar PV Systems — Provides incentives to customers who install PV systems at their homes or businesses. PV for Schools — Tampa Electric will install five 10-kilowatt (kW) systems with battery backup power (one school per year over five years) at schools that also can function as emergency shelters. The PV technology will provide educational opportunities to teachers and students. Low-Income Solar Water Heating — Solar water heating systems will be available for installation on new construction in collaboration with nonprofit building organizations.

The new programs should be available to customers in first quarter of 2011. The availability of these incentives is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations will be accepted online at

The New Programs, to Be Available to Customers in the First Quarter of 2011, Include $1.5 Million in Incentives Tampa Electric Will Offer Each Year for Five Years to Help Customers Install Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Systems and Solar Water Heating

Saving energy is important to our customers during these challenging economic times,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas. “In designing these new programs, we considered the growing interest community leaders and small and large customers have in renewable technologies, energy conservation and, smart and efficient-energy management equipment and systems. These new and enhanced programs can help customers lower their energy bills.”

The FPSC also approved the company’s plans to add new features or enhancements to its existing residential and commercial energy conservation programs, including:

For residential customers:

Free Energy Audits — An inspection of customers’ homes that identifies areas where they may be wasting valuable energy. The company provides three convenient audits (Online, Phone-Assisted and In-Home). Each type of audit includes a free pack of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Heating and Cooling — Pays an incentive up to $400 to encourage the installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems in existing dwellings. Ceiling Insulation — Pays an incentive up to $350 when new insulation is added; up from the previous incentive of $200. Window Replacement/Upgrades — Pays an incentive of $2.65 per square foot with no maximum; the previous maximum amount was $350. Window Film — Pays an incentive up to $2 per square foot with no maximum; an increase from the previous $1 per square foot with a $200 maximum. Wall Insulation — Pays an incentive of $0.31 per square foot with no maximum; up from the previous $200 maximum for all exterior walls. HVAC Maintenance Program — A new program that pays an incentive up to $75 for maintenance and tune-up of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment to ensure operation at optimal efficiency. HVAC Motor Replacement Program — A new program that pays an incentive up to $135 for installing a more energy-efficient motor in an existing air handler.

For business customers:

Free Energy Audits — A free program designed to increase awareness of energy use, includes a free pack of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Commercial Lighting — Offers an increased incentive of $175 per kilowatt (kW) for lighting upgrades, as well as $25 for each exit sign upgrade to LED technology. Commercial Cooling — Increased incentives for installing high-efficiency cooling systems in existing dwellings. Commercial Duct Repair — Pays an incentive of $350 for the repair of leaking duct systems; up from the previous level of $200. Chiller Program — Increased incentives to $175 per kW for replacing inefficient cooling equipment with higher efficiency equipment. HVAC Maintenance Program — A new program that pays an incentive up to $25 per ton of costs for maintenance and tune-up of HVAC equipment to ensure operation at optimal efficiency. Standby Generator — Pays an increased incentive of $4 per kW for utilization of a customer’s emergency generation capacity during peak periods. Commercial Energy-Efficient Motors — Pays an incentive of $6 per horsepower for energy-efficient motor upgrades. Occupancy Sensors — Offers $25 per sensor installed to control indoor lights and reduce energy costs. Electronically Commutated Motors — A new program that pays an incentive up to $180 per horsepower to retrofit and/or replace inefficient evaporator motors for HVAC or refrigeration equipment. Roof Insulation — A new Building Envelope program that pays $0.15 per square foot of insulation. Ceiling Insulation and Wall Insulation — Two existing programs available as part of the Building Envelope program will offer increased incentives. Energy Recovery Ventilation — A new program that pays an incentive for installing an energy-recovery ventilation system designed to reduce indoor humidity. Cool Roof — A new program that pays an incentive up to $0.60 per square foot for the installation of a cool roof system designed to reduce heat transfer. Commercial Load Management — Increased incentives for allowing Tampa Electric to control operation of air conditioning or specialized equipment during critical energy-use periods.

Low-Income Program Enhancements

Tampa Electric’s existing Low-Income program will receive additional weatherization measures, such as free insulation and duct repair. The company will work closely with established organizations, such as the Centre for Women, to identify and mass-deliver free and low-cost energy-efficiency measures to qualifying neighborhoods throughout the company’s service area.

In addition, Tampa Electric also will partner with neighborhood service centers to offer free energy-efficient packages to low-income residents who qualify for assistance with their energy costs. The packages will include energy-saving light bulbs, air filter change reminders, faucet aerators, hot water temperature check cards and more.

The company began its conservation program initiatives in the late 1970s, prior to any federal or state energy conservation requirements. From 1979 through 2009, Tampa Electric has performed more than 390,000 energy audits and paid almost 385,000 incentives and rebates to customers who have participated in Tampa Electric’s conservation programs — offsetting the need to generate enough electricity to serve more than 683,800 average-size homes over a 12-month period.