Pursuing energy efficiency initiatives is easier than you might think for New Jersey’s small businesses. Through the New Jersey Clean Energy Direct Install Program, customers can upgrade equipment with no out-of-pocket costs and receive significant incentives plus 0% financing for up to 5 years.
Here are the answers to the top questions our customers ask:
1. What is the Direct Install Program
The Direct Install (DI) Program is provided through the New Jersey Clean Energy Program (NJCEP). It provides New Jersey utility customers with a “turnkey” program that makes it easy and affordable to upgrade to high-efficiency equipment. Participating customers save on monthly energy costs by implementing qualified, energy-efficient lighting, HVAC, and refrigeration upgrades. Additionally, the program offers upgrades that minimize out-of-pocket costs to the customer and provide incentives and 0% financing for up to 5 years.
The DI program applies to both electric and gas equipment (i.e., furnace, boiler). The more items that are included, the greater the rebate. In fact, bundling of multiple energy efficiency projects is encouraged, and combining electrical equipment with natural gas reductions achieves the highest rebates available.
2. How Does the DI Program Work
The local NJ utility company has a network of vetted Trade Allies (like CM3) that provide sales and installation services. The Trade Allies provide customers with a no-cost facility assessment and cost proposal for relevant upgrades. The proposal includes costs, eligible incentives, and the project’s simple payback (the length of time an upgrade is estimated to pay for itself in terms of monthly energy savings).
Customers have two options for paying for their upgrade. They can choose to pay it directly or they can finance it through their utility company’s On Bill Repayment plan (see Financing below).
3. Who is Eligible for the Program
New Jersey businesses (non-residential customers) that have an average annual electric demand of 200 kW or less are eligible to participate in the DI Program. There are some exclusions for customers who are located in urban enterprise zones (UEZs).
4. What is the Process
- Assessment: Customers obtain a no-cost energy assessment from a Trade Ally (like CM3). The proposal will detail out the total cost of the project, the amounts of all eligible incentives, and the total balance that will be owed. (Total project cost – incentives = total amount owed)
- Installation: Customers determine which energy savings measures to pursue and then contract with the Trade Ally to install those energy-saving upgrades. The local utility company (through a program management partner) will conduct pre- and post-inspections of the work to ensure the job was completed in keeping with program rules.
- Payments & Savings: The customer achieves ongoing energy savings through the installed upgrades. Payments for those upgrades can be made one of two ways: Customers can pay it directly or they can finance it through their utility company’s On Bill Repayment plan (see Financing below).
5. Is Financing Available
Qualifying customers may be eligible for 0% financing up to a 5-year term. There is no application fee. This process is called the On Bill Repayment plan, in which customers repay the applicable cost of the equipment installed via their utility bill. Both equipment and labor costs can be included in the OBR plan.
For most customers, OBR is a highly attractive option. Although the overall utility bill increases (to cover the cost of the new equipment that was not covered by incentives), the energy usage decreases and this helps to offset the cost of the equipment that was purchased. In essence, the OBR functions like a mini-ESCO, with energy savings paying for equipment investments.
6. How is the Incentive Determined
Incentives are determined based on category of installed new equipment and realized annual energy savings. Prior to approving the work, the customer will know what work qualifies and the amount of incentive that will be paid.
7. What Upgrades Qualify for the DI Program
- Heating and cooling equipment
- Refrigeration equipment
- Lighting – retrofit and replacement, interior and exterior
*This information is based on documentation from JCP&L and PSE&G. The Direct Install program information applies to all New Jersey utilities.
CM3 is an approved Trade Ally with five New Jersey utility companies.