Energy Incentive Programs, Colorado
Updated August 2013
Colorado utilities budgeted $100 million in 2012 to promote energy efficiency and load management in the state.
What public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?
Colorado has no public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs.
What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?
Under a settlement agreement with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and other interested parties, Xcel Energy will spend up to a total of $196 million on its demand-side management programs through 2013. Xcel offers incentives, analysis and project assistance for which federal agencies are eligible:
Rebates for specific energy-saving equipment are available through the Compressed Air, Cooling Efficiency, Data Center Efficiency, Energy Management Systems, Lighting Efficiency, Motor and Drive Efficiency, and Heating Efficiency programs.
The Custom Efficiency Program provides incentives (up to $400/kW of electricity and $7/MMBtu of gas saved) for energy-efficient measures that exceed standard options or are not covered by Xcel's other energy efficiency programs. Projects require pre-approval before purchase and installation. A wide variety of equipment is eligible, ranging from LED lighting and building envelope measures and process improvements to HVAC, cooling towers and miscellaneous office equipment.
The Business New Construction Program offers a variety of free services and rebates. New construction or major renovation projects of 50,000 square feet or larger qualify for free design assistance under the Energy Design Assistance initiative (see below). Smaller facilities can qualify for rebates for installing specific energy-saving equipment under the Energy Efficient Buildings offering (see below). Xcel emphasizes the importance of employing these programs very early in the new project timeline—well before projects break ground. The Energy Design Assistance program provides design services and incentives for new construction and major renovation projects of at least 50,000 sq. ft. in size. The Energy Efficient Buildings program offers rebates for new construction and major renovation projects of 50,000 square feet or less.
The Re-commissioning Program funds up to 75% of the cost (up to $25,000) of a re-commissioning diagnosis for buildings of at least 50,000 square feet or that demonstrate high energy use. Rebates are also available to offset up to 60% of the cost of implementing identified energy-saving measures.
The Energy Analysis Program provides a free on-line energy assessment tool and offers low-cost on-site energy audits.
The Process Efficiency Program provides custom rebates and free and subsidized energy and engineering services to create a long-term energy management plan that includes identification of measures and business process improvements aimed to optimize energy savings.
The Self-Direct Custom Efficiency Program provides rebates for business customers that do their own engineering, implementation and commissioning on qualifying energy efficiency projects.
Black Hills Energy offers several efficiency programs to its commercial and industrial customers:
The Gas Prescriptive Rebate Program offers cash incentives for purchases of high-efficiency space heating, water heating and commercial kitchen equipment.
The Colorado Gas Custom Rebate Program provides commercial customers with rebates that buy down their retrofit costs to a two-year payback, or up to 50% of the incremental cost of energy-saving measures, whichever is less (maximum $6/Mcf saved). Industrial customers may also be eligible for free site assessments and training.
The Electric Prescriptive Rebate Program provides rebates (up to $25,000 per facility annually) for efficient lighting, motors, heat pumps and variable frequency drives and electric water heaters.
The Colorado Electric Custom Rebate Program provides design assistance (up to $1500 per building) and rebates of $0.30/kWh of savings or a maximum of 50% of the incremental cost, whichever is less for installation of efficient equipment upgrades not covered under the prescriptive program.
The Colorado Gas Commercial New Construction Program provides financial incentives to offset design and installation costs of energy-efficient building systems and equipment (at least 15% better than IECC 2009 and ASHRAE 90.1-2007) in new construction and major renovation projects. The program offers two levels of incentives: the Custom Track for projects that enroll near the end of the schematic design phase (typically garnering 30%-40% more energy savings than the standards) and the Custom Plus Track (designed to help owners achieve 40%-60% more savings than the standards) for projects enrolling immediately after architect selection. Incentives range from $0.60/therm for the minimum 15% savings to $1.90/therm for savings of at least 70% greater than the standards.
The Colorado Electric Self-Direct Custom Rebate Program provides rebates of $0.30/kWh savings (up to 50% of the incremental cost) to commercial and industrial customers with aggregated peak load greater than 1MW that design their own energy efficiency plan and implement qualifying projects.
Colorado Springs Utilities offers rebates for the installation of equipment and measures that save energy and water, as well as those that reduce peak demand. Incentivized measures include efficient electric motors, windows, lighting and HVAC equipment.
Under the umbrella of the Platte River Power Authority, Estes Park Light and Power, Fort Collins Utilities, Loveland Water and Power and Longmont Power and Communications offer several rebate programs to business customers:
The LightenUp lighting retrofits program offers prescriptive and custom incentives that vary depending on fixture and project type (e.g., new construction or existing building retrofit). See "What's New for LightenUp" for additional updates and information.
The Electric Efficiency Program offers incentives for prescriptive and custom efficiency improvement measures including cooling, food service and refrigeration equipment, efficient motors and drives and building envelope improvements. Both new construction and existing buildings are eligible, though the application processes differ some. In order to be eligible, the application must be processed prior to beginning work.
The Building Tune Up Program identifies opportunities to improve building comfort, operations and efficiency. While a retro-commissioning audit is provided at no cost, customers must commit to implementing all identified measures with a two-year or shorter simple payback (minimum investment commitment of $0.05/sq. ft.).
The Efficiency Express grant program for small commercial customers (50,000 sq. ft. or less) of Estes Park Light & Power and Loveland Water and Power provides free energy assessments and grants of up to $5,000 per customer (in addition to Platte River Power Authority rebates) for energy efficiency upgrades. Grant funds are available until December 1, 2013, at which time the project work must be complete.
Fort Collins Utilities offers two additional programs:
Cash Incentives for Energy Saving Improvements are available for energy efficiency upgrades including lighting, air conditioner equipment and tune ups, motors and other mechanical equipment, building envelope measures, office and kitchen equipment and custom measures.
The Integrated Design Assistance Program offers two options for receiving incentives and technical support for new construction and renovation projects that exceed building code requirements for energy performance. The whole building approach is used for projects in early design stage and provides design and performance incentives to encourage the highest cost-effective building performance. The prescriptive approach targets specific equipment and systems, and is used for projects that are already beyond schematic design, on a fast track, or when resources prevent using the whole building approach.
La Plata Electric Association, Inc. provides rebates for installing efficient lighting, electric water heaters, permanent electric heaters, energy-efficient motors and air- and ground-source heat pumps.
Sangre De Cristo Electric Association offers rebates for installing qualifying new efficient space heating and new or replacement water heating equipment.
SourceGas offers the Excess Is Out Program, which provides rebates for a variety of energy-efficiency equipment upgrades including high-efficiency gas furnaces and boilers, duct and pipe insulation, ceiling and wall insulation, programmable thermostats, commercial kitchen equipment and improvements to existing space and water heating systems.
United Power offers rebates for installing specific energy-efficient equipment and appliances including air- and ground-source heat pumps, electric water heaters, electric heat and thermal storage, electric motors, commercial lighting, LED street lighting, and ENERGY STAR appliances. Rebates must be requested within 180 days of installation.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website provides information on additional programs offered to commercial customers by municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives.
What load management/demand response options are available to me?
Xcel Energy's Interruptible Service Option Credit (ISOC) provides demand charge savings to customers who have interruptible demand of at least 300 kW during June through September. Participants choose the advance notice option and the amount of interruption appropriate for their facility, and receive monthly credits on their demand charges, which range from $6.08 to $8.81 per kW in the summer (June-September) when the majority of interruption events are called, and $4.89 to $7.08 per kW the rest of the year (October-May).
Colorado Springs Utilities offers two load management opportunities available to federal customers:
The Peak Demand Rebates program provides an incentive of $400/kW of verified on-peak summer electric demand reduction. Reductions may be achieved through installation of energy efficiency measures and/or load shifting that result in a minimum of 20 kW demand reduction during the peak period (3-6 p.m. non-holiday weekdays, June 15 through September 15).
The Kilowatcher Rate is offered to large customers (at least 1,000 kWh/day electrical consumption during the past 12 billing periods) who are able to curtail electric load with a 24-hour notice. The program allows customers to buy electricity at a lower rate throughout the year during on-peak hours, provided they curtail load up to 100 hours per contract year when called upon during pre-declared "Super Peak" periods which may be called between 11 A.M. and 6 P.M. April to September, and 4 to 10 P.M. October to March.
What distributed energy resource options are available to me?
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website provides information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation.
Pursuant to the 2004 passage of Amendment 37, Colorado's utilities with 40,000 or more customers must provide a $2/watt (or greater) rebate for solar PV systems (up to 100 kW) installed in their territory. In early 2010, H.B. 1001 increased the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 12% of annual retail sales from 2011-2014, 20% annually from 2015-2019, and 30% by 2020. The legislation also mandates that by 2020, 3% of total electricity sales must come from distributed generation systems, (e.g., customer-located solar PV).
For current offerings, see Xcel Energy's Solar*Rewards Program, Colorado Springs Utilities' Renewable Energy Rebate Program and Black Hills Energy's Colorado Electric Solar Power Program. Xcel rebate levels step down over time and as of August 2013 were $0.07/kWh (first 20 years of production)for customer-owned or third party-owned systems over 10kW and up to 500 kW. Colorado Springs pays $1.50 per AC watt, with a maximum incentive of $37,500. Black Hills pays up front and performance-based rebates that vary depending on the system size and ownership structure.
Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by the state government?
The Colorado state energy office lists commercial and public buildings resources that provide support for public agencies to invest in energy-efficiency improvements through performance contracting, sustainable design in new buildings, commissioning, and other energy management strategies. Programs are largely targeted toward state and local public agencies. The Recharge Colorado website provides energy savings guides and information on energy efficiency rebates, incentives and contractors.
What additional opportunities are available to me?
Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide supply contracts through GSA (e.g., Colorado Springs Utilities and Public Service Company of Colorado), may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Information is available on GSA's Energy Center of Expertise Library Page. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.
NOTE: Energy efficiency funds and demand response programs are updated at least annually. Please contact the FEMP webmaster if changes are needed between updates.