Florida officials seeking public input on proposed energy rebate programs

(The Center Square) — Florida officials are seeking feedback from the public about the Florida Energy Rebate programs currently under development.

The program still awaits approval from the U.S. Department of Energy. Florida has been allocated $346 million to assist residents in reducing energy costs by improving their home’s energy efficiency through qualified upgrades, retrofits and high-efficiency appliances.

Brooks Rumenik, the Director of the Office of Energy at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said during last month’s meeting devoted to the implementation of Florida’s Energy Rebate Program that it is designed to help businesses and individuals cope with rising energy costs.

“In today’s challenging economy, it’s important we provide opportunities for individuals and businesses to save on their energy costs,” Rumenik said. “Florida’s energy rebate programs will provide a unique opportunity to save money through increased energy efficiency.”

Rumenik added that the energy programs are designed to provide financial incentives that can lead to actual savings and the meeting’s objectives included engaging with stakeholders during the development of the programs, as well as the implementation process and aggregating and considering all feedback.

“The goal of Florida’s energy rebate program is to enhance energy savings for Floridians, while accelerating the transition to more affordable, efficient and resilient homes,” Rumenik said.

The programs will run until all the funds are exhausted or through Sept. 30, 2031, whichever comes first.

Deputy Director of the Office of Energy Tony Morgan said that they are still designing the specifics of the two programs and are waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Morgan explained that the first of the two programs is the Whole Home Efficiency Rebate, which is a performance-based rebate opportunity for single-family or multi-family households that requires a minimum energy savings.

However, Morgan pointed out that the rebate amounts are low and might work better with other incentives. Eligible upgrades include heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, heat pump dryers and weatherization and must increase efficiency by at least 20%.

The second program is Home Efficiency Appliances & Electrification. It is income-restricted, and only specific appliances, including insulation and air-sealing, electric load service, ventilation, and electric wiring, qualify for the rebate.

The programs allow a maximum rebate of $14,000, including up to an $8,000 rebate for heat pumps.