Save On Energy Program (2020): 7 Energy-Efficiency Grants & Rebates for Ontario Businesses

Just a couple years ago, electricity companies throughout Ontario were offering a variety of energy-efficiency incentive programs with funding from the provincial government to encourage businesses to reduce both their energy usage and their monthly energy bills.

With the current government, however, things changed somewhat. Some programs were scrapped entirely, and the rest were absorbed by the Independent Electricity System Operator. This is where Save on Energy comes in. Save on Energy is tasked with administering the financial incentive programs now offered by the IESO.

Why Save On Energy?

Why bother with energy efficiency? It’s costly, it’s time consuming, and what you have in place works, so why change it?

Your number one reason is money. It saves you money in the end. Your hydro bill will be smaller every single month after you’ve made your changes. Think about what that adds up to over the years, even after you factor in the money you spent to make those changes.

And why not make those changes when these programs will give you money to do so? That way, it costs you so much less than it would have otherwise. It couldn’t be any easier or any more logical. Get money in return for spending money so you can save money.

The other reason you should think about becoming more energy efficient is to not only reduce your own environmental footprint, but to also do your part toward reducing future energy costs for everyone by delaying construction of new power plants and transmission lines.

So if this has done anything to convince you that now is the time improve your business’s energy efficiency, read on to learn more about Save on Energy’s financial incentive programs. And if you’re not convinced just yet, perhaps learning about these programs will seal the deal.

Save On Energy Small Business Lighting Program

Such a small thing as improving the lighting in your space will not only increase your energy efficiency, but also your productivity, your mood, and the appearance of your product or product displays, if that’s applicable in your case.

The best part is this program will give you up to $2,000 to achieve all those results. And that’s not all. They’ll even do an assessment to identify the optimal changes you should make to reap the greatest rewards, do all the paperwork, and install all the lighting for you. No paperwork, no decisions to make, no contractors to find or quotes to sort through. They’ll even take care of the clean up!

Now you’re only eligible if your business has 50 employees or less and hasn’t taken part in this program in the past. If you’re still eligible, applying is as simple as taking part. Just fill out the small questionnaire with some contact information and details about your current lighting, and they’ll give you a call.

And you can always get in touch with them before you get started or along the way by sending them an email or just giving them a quick call at 1-866-932-8283.

Save On Energy Small Business Lighting Program

Such a small thing as improving the lighting in your space will not only increase your energy efficiency, but also your productivity, your mood, and the appearance of your product or product displays, if that’s applicable in your case.

The best part is this program will give you up to $2,000 to achieve all those results. And that’s not all. They’ll even do an assessment to identify the optimal changes you should make to reap the greatest rewards, do all the paperwork, and install all the lighting for you. No paperwork, no decisions to make, no contractors to find or quotes to sort through. They’ll even take care of the clean up!

Now you’re only eligible if your business has 50 employees or less and hasn’t taken part in this program in the past. If you’re still eligible, applying is as simple as taking part. Just fill out the small questionnaire with some contact information and details about your current lighting, and they’ll give you a call.

And you can always get in touch with them before you get started or along the way by sending them an email or just giving them a quick call at 1-866-932-8283.

Save On Energy Small Business Retrofit Program

If you aren’t eligible for the lighting program, consider upgrading your systems. It might sound expensive or complicated, but with this program, it’s both simple and cost-effective.

Every business in every field and industry is eligible to take part in this one, and it doesn’t even matter if you own or lease as long as you get permission from your landlord. Your project could be big or small; there’s a track to help you with either one.

If your retrofit project is just a small one, say replacing your chillers, the prescriptive track is for you. The incentive you’ll get will be determined immediately when you apply depending on the cost of the project you’ve submitted. Make sure it’s large enough, however, to meet the minimum required incentive of $500.

Should you have something larger and more comprehensive in mind, such as a new energy management system, building automation systems, or metering equipment, then the custom track is for you. You could even use it for social and/or multi-tenant housing. The project(s) you choose will have to result in energy savings for at least 48 months though, and your incentives are capped at 50% of project costs. Your minimum required incentive is easy to meet though at $1,500.

For projects to be eligible for either of the tracks, they must offer sustainable, measurable, and verifiable reductions in peak electricity demand and electricity consumption.

You can apply for this program in the same way as for the lighting program: just fill out their questionnaire with information about your project and your company, and they’ll give you a call back to discuss the available incentives, next steps, and required documents.

They even have whole documents you can download to help you through the application process and give you tips on the QA/QC guidelines and the requirements for the photos you’ll need to send in. And that’s not all. There’s also FAQs for quick answers to the most common questions and a user guide you can download—plus how-to videos!

And if you still need some assistance or more info, just send them an email or give them a call at 1-844-303-5542.

Save On Energy Food Services Incentives

For those in the food service industry, this could be just the program you need, and you didn’t even know it. Improve the atmosphere of your operations for your customers, employees, and you with something as simple as switching out your old ventilation system with a new Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation.

This system will also save you money by using less energy. It senses when your activity picks up and when it slows down and adjusts accordingly, resulting in much less energy used.

But wait! There are more incentives you might be able to take advantage of, such as those for lighting, ENERGY STAR freezers, unitary air conditioning, ice machines, and walk-in freezers. Not bad!

Give them a call at 1-844-303-5542 or give them some information using their questionnaire to find out what may be available for you.

Save On Energy Greenhouse Incentives

Of course, there’s also incentives available for those in the agri-business industry. Install new LED grow lights, and you’ll get an incentive. Install a temperature-limiting thermostat and you’ll get an incentive ($57 per). Install a high-efficiency ventilation exhaust fan and you’ll get an incentive ($87 per). You’ve got the idea!

There are also incentives available for recirculation ventilation fans ($2,000 per), photocell controllers and timers for lighting control ($175 per), and dual and natural exhaust ventilation (various).

Just fill out the worksheet to see if you’re eligible, and then complete their online questionnaire to apply.

Save On Energy – Energy Manager Program

How can you save energy and money if you don’t know all the ways to do so? You’re not an expert in energy efficiency. That’s not your business. Well, that’s okay because now you can hire someone that is an expert.

Yes, it costs money to hire someone: salary, benefits, etc. But this is the one time you won’t be the one paying. When you hire an energy manager through this Save on Energy program, they’ll pay you $40,000 upfront as soon as you hire one, and they’ll keep paying you up to $150,000/year for the duration.

Here’s the “but.” Your energy manager will not only have pay-for-performance criteria to meet, but they’ll have to continually find you ways and incentive programs to keep saving you money at the same time as they ensure at least 10% of the energy savings realized comes with no incentives.

And beyond that, energy managers have the skills and knowledge to create an energy management program, to know which equipment and technology is best for your company, and to find additional energy-saving investments.

So if someone else is going to pay their salary, why not hire one and save money? Just fill out the application form and email it to Save on Energy. Once approved, you’ll also have to fill out and submit the Energy Manager Agreement.

You can email the program your questions, and read through the detailed program requirements here.

Save On Energy – Energy Performance Program

This program rewards you for saving money over and over again over time. If you keep saving energy, you’ll keep saving money. And not just because your energy bills are lower but because you’ll also get a financial incentive for doing that.

Unfortunately though, industrial and manufacturing businesses don’t qualify for this one. For everyone else, however, you only have to meet these criteria to participate:

  • commit a certain number of buildings for at least 2 years and plan to realize at least 5%energy savings/building
  • have hourly meter data available for each building for at least 12 months
  • have a yearly consumption of at least 1,500,000 kWh/building (or a group of up to 5 buildings aggregated into a single baseline energy model)

This is a pay-for-performance incentive program that offers $0.04/kWh of energy savings each year for up to 2.5 years. But that’s not all you’ll get. You could also get a modelling incentive of $1,500 for each building, up to a maximum of $15,000 for 10 approved buildings.

You can make any energy-efficiency changes, improvements, or additions you want to, and get rewarded every year when you do. Your annual payments will equal up to 20% of your savings when compared to your annual electricity consumption baseline model.

Don’t worry, they give you both the instructions and the tool you need to easily create your baseline model, so as complicated as it sounds, it’s really not.

Applying is rather simple too. Just sign the Energy Performance Program Agreement and send it via email with the application form. Make sure you also fill out and send in one Facility Application Form for each building you want enrolled in the program.

It would also be a good idea to check out the technical requirements and the FAQs before you apply. And just when you thought you were done, you’re not. You’ll also have to fill out a savings report every year if you want to keep getting your payments.

Save On Energy Process and Systems Upgrade Program

Can improving your energy efficiency also increase your company’s competitiveness? Absolutely! With this incentive program of course.

This is a 2-pronged incentive program. First, you’ll start by identifying the energy-saving opportunities, along with their potential savings and projected costs, that make the most sense for you. Then create a business case and submit it to Save on Energy.

Once approved, you’ll get an incentive to conduct an Engineering Feasibility Study. This will serve to unearth any additional opportunities or technologies after determining your system’s current base case energy usage.

After you’ve completed this step, you’ll be eligible for additional incentives for such projects as installing variable frequency drives, generating electricity from waste energy recovery, or redesigning an entire system.

You’ll get 50% of your incentive paid upfront after you’ve been approved, and then you’ll get the balance after the project is finished, measured, and verified.

Take a look at the program guidelines in detail before you apply so you’ve covered all your bases. Once you’re ready, just send them an email with your business case and/or your questions.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, not only does saving energy make sense for the sake of the environment, including your own community, it makes sense for your bank account.

Save on Energy has an incentive program to suit every business, so take a look around your business to see where you could save money. You’ll probably find far more places than you would have once thought. So pick a few programs and dive in!

But yes, there are a lot of programs to choose from here, so if you’d like to talk it through with a knowledgeable professional before beginning, just send them an email, and they’ll answer your questions and guide you in the right direction for your business.


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