Oregon among first to apply for new federal home energy rebates

Oregon among first to apply for new federal home energy rebates

Interior of winery with heat pump

Oregon is one step closer to receiving significant federal resources to make homes more energy-efficient and lower energy bills.

In March 2024, the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) submitted its applications for funding for Oregon’s new home energy rebate programs offered through the U.S. Department of Energy and created by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. If approved, ODOE will partner with Energy Trust to bring millions of dollars in additional savings to Oregonians across Energy Trust’s service area. ODOE estimates these rebates would be available to customers in early 2025, pending federal approval and following several months of development.

With the additional funding, ODOE, Energy Trust, and other partners will use infrastructure created over the last 20 years — including contractor and community organization networks — to make these new savings opportunities as accessible as possible. Energy Trust’s success in developing energy programs and incentives that deliver significant savings, along with the creation of a skilled trade ally network, gave Oregon a strong start to be one of the first states in the U.S. to apply for this first-of-its kind funding. It also allows Oregon to design delivery programs faster than many other states once funding is delivered, rather than having to create them from the ground up.

Once approved, the funding will bring two new energy efficiency programs to Oregon in addition to those already offered by Energy Trust and ODOE.

Home Efficiency Rebates or HOMES

HOMES will deliver rebates offered to families or owners of multifamily buildings for upgrades made to lower their energy use, with at least 40% of the rebates going to low-income households. The upgrades together need to demonstrate energy savings of at least 20%, with higher rebates given to projects with savings of 35% or more.

Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates or HEAR

HEAR will deliver point-of-sale rebates to make high-efficiency electrical home appliances like heat pumps more affordable, as well as weatherization products including insulation. At least 40% of these rebates will also be reserved for individuals and families with lower incomes.

Implementing HOMES and HEAR funds will allow Energy Trust to further lower the upfront costs of energy upgrades, a significant barrier for many families.

Multiple ways to save

Once available, these rebates can be combined with existing Energy Trust incentives and existing federal tax credits also created by the Inflation Reduction Act.  Both Energy Trust incentives are higher for individuals and families with lower incomes.

Rebate vs. tax credit

These new rebate programs will be a new way for Oregon families to save.  A rebate is money given directly back to an individual or family following approved energy upgrades. A tax credit is given when an individual or family files their annual tax return and can lower the amount of taxes owed.

What’s next?

The funding application submitted by ODOE are the first steps to bringing these crucial dollars to the state and help Oregonians save energy – and money. Once ODOE’s applications are reviewed and approved, ODOE and Energy Trust will work together to develop the specific rebate offers with the goal of making them available by early 2025, if not sooner. ODOE will also conduct a competitive search for organizations to deliver these rebates outside of Energy Trust’s service area.