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March 2013

Dustin TrippEnergy Efficiency

In 2010 and 2011, SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative participated in the HomE Energy Efficiency Programto help Members make improvements to their homes that resulted in consuming energy more efficiently.  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) granted Illinois Electric Cooperatives $2.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for home energy efficiency improvements.  With the help of this funding, SEIEC Cooperative members installed 50 geothermal heat pumps, 73 air-source heat pumps and 27 members made insulation and weatherization improvements.

In January 2013, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) granted Illinois Cooperatives an additional $600,000 for home energy efficiency improvements also known as the HomE Lite Rebate Program. This program applies to existing homes as well as new construction. In order to qualify for this grant, the home must be served by the Cooperative and be the Member’s primary residence.  Residential members could be eligible for a rebate up to $1,500.  Rebates for Commercial accounts are also available for geothermal and air source heat pumps up to $10,000.  Rebates will be available until funding runs out, or until June of this year.  All heating-cooling system upgrades must meet federal Energy Star standards to be eligible.    Following are items eligible for the rebates and the amount:

 

Geothermal Heat Pumps

$1,500

Air-source Heat Pumps

$1,000

Heat Pump Water Heater

$250

BPI Energy Audit

$300

Insulation/Air Sealing

30% of project costs, maximum $500

Commercial Installations

$500 per ton of capacity, up to a maximum of $10,000 for geothermal and air source heat pump

 

 

According to DCEO, Cooperative members who qualify for the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program through the State of Illinois do NOT qualify for the HomE energy efficiency program as these members are eligible to receive other funding for weatherization and energy efficiency improvements from the state.  In order to qualify for the Illinois Weatherization Assistance Program, the household income must be below 200 percent of the national poverty level which equates to an annual income of $46,100 for a family of four.

In addition the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 passed by Congress on January 3 provides extensions of energy tax credit provisions for homeowners seeking energy-efficiency improvements.  Under section 25C, homeowners can claim a $500 maximum tax credit to cover material costs of energy-efficient upgrades to existing homes for all taxable years; however if a taxpayer has claimed $500 or more of this tax credit in any year prior to 2013, they may not claim any additional credit.  The credit is only redeemable if the upgrades are in place by the end of 2013.

A renewable energy tax credit also exists for members investing in geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters and other green technologies.  The credit covers 30 percent of the cost for approved projects completed on any type of home between 2009 and 2016.  If you have ever thought about installing a geothermal heat pump, these tax credits provide a good opportunity to achieve higher efficiencies at a much reduced overall cost.  The ENERGY STAR website, www.energystar.gov (keyword: “Tax credits”) provides a great overview of what qualifies for tax credits and includes guidance on how to apply for them.

For more information regarding the HomE Lite Rebate Program please visit our website at www.seiec.com or contact Stefanie Tripp, Administrative Assistant & Human Resource Manager at 618-273-2611 ext. 169.

 

See you next month and as always, “We’ll keep the lights on for you.”