Most of this site deals with the raw savings and comparison
of bulbs and watts. Does LED make sense just comparing
these two criteria at a minimum and the answer for any
period of time greater than 1 year is a resounding “Yes”.
We want to be conservative because we know businesses and
individuals are leery of promises made every day for 5000%
savings and/or gains. We want to under promise and over
perform in terms of LED savings. That being said, it would
be remiss not to mention government’s role in making LED’s
more attractive and when you take into account rebates and
special tax applications for switching to LED lighting, the
savings only magnify. Yes, we get a little excited about
this so we’re going to bring the LED government rebates and
taxation out as our final straw to your utility’s back.
The best place to start for a thorough
and specific listing of available Federal and State rebates,
incentives, and tax treatment for LED lighting can be found
http://dsireusa.org/ There’s all
kind of information there but we recommend (and use daily)
the “Search” feature on the left pane where you can bring up
specific information for you State. Let’s take a quick look
at an example in our home State, California. For our
example, we’ll use a small commercial building and light
installation. We have already gone through the watt to watt
comparison in our “How LED Saves You Money” article but the
savings from government incentives would be on top of this
top level analysis.
The Search function is pretty fast and
simple. First drop down would be “Commercial/Industrial”
followed by our State, “California”. Under “Select a
Technology”, we would select “Lighting”. For “Implementing
Sector” and “Incentive/Policy” dropdowns, keep those at
“All” to start. You’ll find a quick listing of available
rebates and programs. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.
Start with the Utilities as many of the actual rebates are
actually administered through the utilities. For example,
in our situation, clicking on PG&E Non-Residential brings up
a list of incentives. A few catch our attention right off
the bat. “Lighting:
$0.05 / kWh saved”,
Efficient “Lighting Upgrades: $17 - $200/fixture”, and
“Lamps: $1 - $20”. This is amazing. We based our savings
in the referenced article above on 10 cents/KWH. The
Utility is now going to increase that savings by 50% for kWh
saved. The Lighting Upgrades would primarily kick in for
fluorescent strip replacement since LED’s do not require
ballasts (which draw watts themselves), and finally, we’ll
get a fixed amount for the LED lamps of between $1 and $20.
You can quickly watch just the rebates above double our
savings calculated on a pure watt to watt, lamp to lamp
basis. The best way to get a full idea of our particular
situation is request the LED lighting quote but government’s
actions have a tremendous impact on the already existing
savings that LED’s afford. That’s just the Utility specific
On the Federal side, we
see Corporate deductions of $.30 to $1.80 per square foot.
More detail is available through a link given on that page.
There can also be depreciation advantages for LED
installations on top of the above. New programs are
constantly starting and ending so it’s best to check out the
above page when considering LED transitions so that you
don’t miss specific rebates or tax advantages.
What does the future hold
on the governmental side? At some point the bureaucrats are
going to realize that the best and cheapest approach towards
some semblance of energy independence is to foster
efficiency gains available right now. The business is home
grown with job gains in every local community. They’ll get
there eventually. In the meantime, to the small and large
business alike, there are significant savings to be had now
and the existing government rebates amplify the underlying
financial benefits of LED lighting.