Do Not Leave Money on the Table When Making Business Energy Investments

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Xcel Energy - Custom Rebate 2023
Xcel Energy - Custom Rebate 2023

Far too often, a business will invest in a unique upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment but fail to first contact an energy advisor to assess their needs and options or apply for a rebate to their energy provider afterwards.

These businesses may be leaving custom rebate money on the table that could have helped recover some of the project costs. Why? Often business managers are hesitant to apply for a rebate if they are uncertain whether the project will qualify, and do not realize that a consultation may help guide their investment towards even more efficient solutions or opportunities to get a bigger rebate.

Custom rebates versus prescriptive rebates

They also may not be aware of how custom rebates work. Most business owners and managers are aware of the common prescriptive rebates offered by their energy provider, in which specific rebate amounts are offered for common equipment enhancements.

Custom rebates, on the other hand, are for more unique equipment upgrades not included in the menu of prescriptive rebates. Custom rebates are based on energy savings and vary based on each project. The first step is a consultation, in which an energy expert will visit the business and help evaluate its energy use and the scope of proposed enhancements.

While the rebate amount is not set in stone until the energy savings are analyzed by our team of independent engineers, in general the more energy the project saves, the more a business can typically earn in rebate dollars.

What kinds of equipment may qualify for custom rebates?

Every custom application is viewed as a unique situation, and the rebate will vary based on the business's operation and how the new equipment is used. In addition to custom-calculated rebates on commonly rebated equipment for heating, cooling, and lighting, some examples of projects that could qualify include:

  • Compressed air systems: 50+ HP VSD air compressors, system controls, engineered nozzles, low pressure blowers, VSD vacuum pumps
  • Controls: TC02 based ventilation, energy recovery, and lighting controls
  • Motors: Greater than 500 hp
  • Refrigeration: VFD screw compressors, evaporative condensers, efficient blast freezers, system controls
  • Variable Frequency Drives: Greater than 200 hp or another non-prescriptive end uses

There are many other opportunities for rebates that are highly specific, such as regenerative elevator drives, high-speed doors, humidification, insulation, injection molding machines, roofing, welders, and more.

How to get a custom rebate (hint: apply before you buy!)

If a business owner or manager can answer "yes" to any of these questions, then they should consider applying for a custom rebate:

  • Does the business need to replace existing equipment or add new equipment?
  • Have operations and maintenance costs increased?
  • Is there a plan to change the operation, impacting processes or equipment needs?
  • Are the energy-efficient improvements not covered by standard/prescriptive rebate programs?

But remember: apply before you buy. Custom efficiency projects require an application before new equipment is purchased and installed. Applying for a custom rebate does not guarantee a project will qualify, but as Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "If you don't ask, you don't get it."

The benefits of custom rebates

Projects that qualify can benefit owners in many ways:

  • Reduced energy costs and more cost-effective equipment for the long-term, which translates directly to a better bottom line.
  • Free engineering consulting for business customers by expert energy advisors. While determining if a project qualifies, advisors may even uncover more opportunities for rebates.
  • Increased business productivity and profitability thanks to the new equipment investment.
  • Decrease in maintenance costs.
  • Improved productivity or occupant comfort.

Rebates plus energy savings add up for businesses

Improved energy efficiency is one of the most logical and effective ways to trim long-term costs. It can reduce both near-term utility bills and long-term operating costs in a tough business environment, freeing up resources for other critical investments.

If a planned project falls outside of prescriptive rebate offerings, a custom rebate can provide the added financial support needed for efficiency investments. While approval is not guaranteed for all applications, custom efficiency programs can provide rebates on a wide variety of equipment and process improvements.

Do not make the mistake of leaving rebate dollars on the table. Considering a custom project? Talk with an Xcel Energy Advisor at 855-839-8862.

Visit to view more tips from Xcel Energy and discover how your business can get started saving money and energy today!