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Energy Smart

Energy Smart


Energy-Efficient Lighting Incentives

The Energy Smart Program is a variety of different governmental and non-governmental entities offer consumer lighting incentives, often as a result of state efficiency requirements. Incentive programs are run by utilities; federal, state and local governments; and through public-private partnerships.

Federal Government Incentives

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offers the High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator (HPOLA) program for utilities, which is designed to demonstrate best practices for accelerating the adoption of high-efficiency outdoor lighting and improving system-wide replacement processes at the municipal level. The goal is to accelerate the deployment of high performance street and outdoor lighting to reach at least 50% of a county’s inventory over the next few years. Cities can work with DOE to conduct analysis, secure funding and install outdoor lighting systems. States or regions may also join in a collaborative and supportive role, working with three or more cities in their state or region. The Charter Partners were announced in a White House Fact Sheet.

The Federal National Mortgage Association provides a financial incentive through the Fannie Mae Multifamily Green Financing Business by including financing for energy and water efficiency property improvements in mortgage financing for multifamily properties and cooperatives.

State Government Incentives

Thirty-six states have incentivized the use of energy efficient lighting through rebate, loan or tax-incentive programs. These programs generally take the form of energy efficiency incentives that cover lighting among a broad array of efficiency approaches. States have enacted legislation authorizing programs that provide low interest loans for energy efficiency projects or offer grants or rebates. For example:

  • Alabama’s Local Government Energy Loan Program offers zero-interest loans to public schools and universities for energy efficiency improvement projects that will pay back in utility savings. Upgrades eligible for funding include heating and cooling equipment, insulation improvements, water-saving efficiency measures and energy efficient lighting upgrades.
  • Illinois offers a variety of lighting incentive programs, including an energy efficient living grant that provides low-income housing residents and public housing authorities efficiency upgrade grants and a public sector energy efficiency program that provides rebates for public sector entities that install energy-efficient equipment and lighting for in their buildings.

A few states offer lighting-specific incentives in the form of consumer rebates or tax holidays for the purchase of certain energy efficient lighting products.

  • Hawaii’s Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program offers instant in-store rebates for the purchase of CFL light bulbs to residential electric utility ratepayers.
  • Maine’s Efficiency Maine Residential Lighting Program provides rebates of $1.25/bulb for residential consumers who wish to upgrade to more energy-efficient lighting.
  • A Texas program, the Memorial Day Weekend Sales Tax Holiday for Energy-Efficient Products, exempts certain energy-efficient appliances, including lighting upgrades, from state sales and use tax during Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Vermont’s Commercial Lighting and LED Lighting Incentive program offers rebates for commercial lighting upgrades. Rebate amounts range from $8-$250 per unit and include some instant in-store rebates.

The following map shows which states currently have energy-efficiency incentive programs that include lighting incentives:


Additionally, most states have implemented energy efficiency standards for public buildings, requiring them to use energy efficient lighting. 

Public Benefit Funds

Many states have public-benefit funds dedicated to promoting energy efficiency. These funds are usually funded through a mandatory service charge on consumer electricity bills or through mandatory contributions by utilities. The funds are then used for energy efficiency purposes, including lighting rebate and efficiency loan programs. In some states, like California, the funds used to finance energy programs are administered by investor-owned utilities and regional energy networks. Other states, including Maine and New Jersey, use the money collected by the public-benefit program to operate state efficiency programs run by non-utility entities. Thirty states have public-benefit funds that support energy efficiency programs. Many programs have found that for every dollar invested by their public benefit fund, two dollars or more are returned in savings and other benefits.

Local Government Incentives and PACE programs

Many local governments offer grants, loans or other incentives to encourage consumers to upgrade to energy efficient appliances and lighting; for example, the City of Winter Park in Florida offers rebates to residential and commercial customers who upgrade to energy efficient technologies, including indoor lighting improvements. Many states have also authorized Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, allowing property owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades through assessments on their tax bill.   

Utility Incentive Programs

Many local and regional utilities offer incentive programs to their customers who upgrade to energy-efficient technologies, including lighting technology, offering consumers product rebates or low-interest loans. These programs may be authorized or mandated by the state, such as through an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, and may be funded through public benefit surcharges or directly by the utility.




The Energy Smart Program was created by the New Orleans City Council and implemented by Entergy to help reduce energy costs through greater efficiency with cash incentives of up to $50,000.

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