The city of Granite Falls this year has paid out $8,177 in energy incentives on 50 residential projects; saving 25,000 in kilowatt hours, according to the Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (CMMPA) and Granite Falls Electrical Distribution Superintendent Don Reznechek.
"I think people are taking pretty good advantage of the conservation improvement programs and energy rebates we offer. Obviously, I always wish they'd do more, but we realize that money's tight and that the incentives have to be right for people," said Reznechek.
Available at the City Clerk's office at Granite Falls City Hall, or online at www.granitefalls.com/CIP.html, the city provides coupons and rebates for florescent light bulbs, Energy Star appliances, different heating and cooling systems, commercial food service tools and custom incentives for both residential and commercial customers.
Said Reznechek, "All people have to do is go online, or go to City Hall and fill out the right form. After that I take a look at them and make sure everything's right and enter them in. People will want to check back in after the new year to see if there are any new incentives offered."
A new incentive for installing an Energy Star rated central air conditioner was added this year to the city's offerings. The incentive offers $100/ton for installing a new air conditioner and $300 for replacing an air conditioner that's 12 years or older with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 14.5 to 15.9, or $600 if that air conditioner has a SEER of 16 and higher.
"This is one program I think people should check," said Reznechek. "(And) it may not be offered in 2013".
The air conditioner rebate comes under the CMMPA's Bonus Bucks program, through which Granite Falls has paid $4,200 in incentives.
Just in energy efficient appliances alone the city has processed about 35 applications and has paid nearly $1,227 in customer incentives while saving about 15,125 kilowatt hours and 2.74 in kilowatt demand.
These consumer incentives are all reviewed by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER). In the state, each electric and natural gas utility develops their own conservation plan as part of the Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) of 2007. This act established an energy savings goal of 1.5 percent of average retail sales for each utility beginning in 2010. The NGEA allows electric utilities to count energy savings that result from qualified improvements to the generation, transmission, distribution, infrastructure or conservation of energy to the 1.5 percent goal.
The city also offers rebates and incentives for commercial consumers.
Businesses can receive rebates and incentives for updating their heating and cooling systems, lighting, any motors or pumps used for the business, any commercial food service appliances and for compressed air systems.
"Due to the economy, there hasn't been a lot of new construction. But there too, there are a lot of rebates for new construction projects that I'm not always sure that people know about," said Reznechek.
Page 2 of 2 - "Regardless of how big of a project you're planning-there's energy savings that you can find. There's just really a lot of good stuff out there. You can fill out a form and CMMPA has a representative that will figure the pay back and future savings."