Tag Archives: South Carolina Energy Office

Rebates on qualifying Energy Star appliances begin Friday in SC

The South Carolina Energy Office is offering rebates on qualifying Energy Star labeled appliances beginning this Friday, January 27 through Sunday, Feb. 5.  The rebates come from the remainder of stimulus money allocated to S.C.  Qualifying appliances include dishwashers, refrigerators and window unit air conditioners.  Below is a link with more information. 


Efficiency Tax Credits Drop, but Don’t Disappear

Benefit reverts to $500 lifetime cap for upgrades

By Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC 

Energy efficiency improvements are great for lowering electric bills. But sometimes the up-front cost can be a drawback. Since 2005, Congress has enacted a series of tax breaks for consumers who take steps to make their homes more energy-efficient. In December, the outgoing 111th Congress approved extending some popular efficiency tax credits through Dec. 31, 2011, although at greatly reduced levels.

“While we were hopeful that the tax credits would be higher than what was approved, we are encouraged that this valuable incentive for homeowner investment was retained,” says Leigh Faircloth, executive director of the South Carolina Association of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors. 

The federal Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 reduces the total lifetime credit that can be claimed on energy efficiency improvements made between 2006 and 2011 (excluding 2008, when no credit was available) from $1,500 to $500. It also lowers the percentage of efficiency upgrade costs consumers can recover, from 30 percent in 2009-2010 to 10 percent in 2011. 

“Basically, energy efficiency tax credits revert to levels approved for 2006 and 2007, before the federal stimulus bill pumped up the program,” explains Zan McKelway, vice president of communications for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “There’s also a lifetime cap of $500 for any work that’s done. But if you haven’t applied for an energy efficiency tax credit before, this extension gives you a chance to recoup some of the costs needed to make your home more efficient.” 

There are also maximum allowances for different upgrades. For installing more efficient windows, the tax credit is limited to $200, and there’s a $300 cap for “any item of energy-efficient building property.”  Other restrictions include: 

  • Furnaces ($150): Must have at least 95 percent (up from 90 percent) annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Oil furnaces and boilers were returned to the single furnace category at 95 percent AFUE.
  • Advanced main air circulating fan ($50): Must utilize less than 2 percent of a furnace’s total energy consumption.
  • Central air conditioner ($300): Must have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of at least 16 and an energy efficiency rating (EER) of at least 13.
  • Air-source heat pump ($300): Must have at least a heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) of 9, SEER of 16, and EER of 13.
  • Biomass fuel stove ($300): Must have a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent  

Builders and Manufacturers Benefit, Too

The bill reinstates a credit of up to $2,000 for builders (during 2010 and 2011) of energy-efficient residences that use no more than half the energy of a 2003 national model energy code home (the credit had expired in 2009). In addition, U.S.-based manufacturers of clothes washers, dishwashers, and refrigerators will receive credits ranging from $25-$200 for efficient appliance models produced in America during 2008, 2009, and 2010. 

“While consumers cannot take these types of credits directly, these units may be promoted by manufacturers, or by state or utility efficiency programs, during the next two years,” notes the Tax Incentives Assistance Project. The group operates a website, http://www.energytaxincentives.org/, devoted to tracking efficiency incentives. 

Renewable Tax Credits Remain Active

Renewable energy tax credits created by the federal stimulus bill don’t expire until Dec. 31, 2016. These credits cover 30 percent of the cost of materials and installation for residential solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps. Details are available at http://www.energystar.gov/taxcredits

Claiming Tax Credits

Tax credits are beneficial because they directly reduce, dollar for dollar, any taxes you owe. Be sure to keep your receipts and your Manufacturer’s Certification Statement (a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying that the product or component qualifies for the tax credit) for your records. Then claim the credit on your taxes using IRS Form 5695. 

Looking for Help?

For a list of federal, state, and local energy efficiency rebates and tax credits, visit the Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, at http://www.dsireusa.org/.

Sources: U.S Government Printing Office, Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency,  ENERGY STAR, South Carolina Association of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors

Megan McKoy-Noe, CCC, writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

Help My House entries now being reviewed

Member entries in Horry Electric Cooperative’s most recent Help My House program are now being reviewed. Applicants selected for the Roof Retrofit for Manufactured Housing will be notified soon.

Horry Electric and other co-ops around the state are offering the Help My House programs as part of a study to validate the effectiveness of various energy-efficiency technologies for South Carolina homes.

For some programs, site visits to applicants’ homes are required. In those cases, the applicants will be notified in advance. However, a visit does not indicate that the home has been selected for the program.

The studies are made possible by a grant from the South Carolina Energy Office and Central Electric Power Cooperative,  Horry Electric’s wholesale power provider. Help My House is part of the co-ops’ ongoing effort to help members save energy and money. Access HelpMyHouse.org for more information.

Cash for appliance clunkers starts March 31

Columbia, SC)—South Carolina’s electric cooperative members and all consumers who plan to purchase new, energy efficient appliances will be eligible to receive rebates ranging from $50 to $500 starting March 31, 2010 through the state’s portion of the federal stimulus program.


The rebates for new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters and other appliances are funded by South Carolina’s share of the $300 million in federal stimulus funds being distributed to each state for appliance rebates. A total of $3.9 million will be available in South Carolina for rebates.

The South Carolina Energy Office also launched a new tool which will help South Carolina residents participate in the federal appliance rebate program, locate participating retailers and contractors and learn more about energy efficiency.  The web site, includes more information about the program which will begin March 31, 2010 and continue until all funds are exhausted.

“We hope this web site will be a useful tool that will enable South Carolinians to locate retailers and contractors participating in the program,” said John Clark, Director of the Energy Office. “In addition, the web site will serve as a resource to citizens as they learn more about energy efficiency.”

As retailers and contractors sign up with the Energy Office to participate, they will be added to a list which will be available to the public on the web site. Individuals interested in receiving rebates should be able to find these participating locations and contractors starting in February.

For appliances bought in a store, the rebate will be applied instantly when the customer goes to the register. Installers of whole-house equipment such as water heaters and HVAC systems will reserve rebates online and then provide customers with mail-in forms. An electronic system will track each rebate issued. Rebates will not apply to online purchases or purchases made prior to March 31, 2010.

Rebate levels were determined based upon the cost difference between a standard and an Energy Star appliance. Energy Star qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10–15 percent less energy and water than standard models.

Customers who purchase a new appliance must turn in the old item. Stores and contractors participating in the rebate program must agree to recycle all old appliances in accordance with standard industry practice. Recycling is required to ensure that inefficient appliances are removed from the power grid.

Retailers and contractors who are interested in participating in this program should contact:

Rebecca Griggs
Appliance Rebates Coordinator

Some of the Products to be Rebated Rebate Level ($)

Clothes washers






Room Air Conditioning Units


Central Air Conditioning Units


Heat Pump


Electric Heat Pump Water Heater


Solar Electric Water Heater