George Crawford, Green Partners
With Con Ed’s Demand Management incentive funding running dry, it’s back to the drawing boards for many LED retro-fit projects. However, the news is still good. Regardless of fewer available options for incentive funding, your LED upgrade can still be a winner – guaranteed. LED Retro-fit projects that were in the Con Ed Demand Management program received high levels of funding which accelerated project paybacks. But don’t forget the LED basics. Because LED products use only a small fraction of the energy consumed by traditional lighting, every retro-fit that includes the replacement of traditional lighting with quality LED products will have a payback that can stand on its own merits. Sourcing the remaining funding options will only make it better.
In formulating a plan for a LED retro-fit in this new environment, focus first on the LED product selection. With newer LED technology, there are now products available that can meet even the highest architectural lighting requirements. Museums, galleries and high end department stores are now using LED lighting solutions. These are high end users that don’t opt for second best. If there are LED solutions that meet their needs, it’s a sure bet that there is a LED solution for virtually every project.
Moving on to the new LED economics.
Up Front Cost:
LED products are more expensive than traditional lighting, but becoming less so and the spread is narrowing. Don’t let the up-front costs become a barrier to starting a project, because there are viable solutions, including specialized financing and other utility funding programs.
Financial institutions, such as M-CoreCredit.com specialize in energy saving related financing, including LED retro-fits. Loans are structured with no up-front cash required for purchase and installation. Loan payments are less than the savings realized. Bottom line – no up-front cash and improved cash flow.
• Utility funding:
There are funding programs that are still available, including Con Ed’s C&I program. While these programs do not provide up-front cash, they can be a significant factor in paying off project financing and accelerating the project payback time line.
• Project strategy:
Source your selected LED products at competitive prices and then calculate the payback time lines. Match the LED products against utility funding programs. Then complete your cash flow. Better yet - Reach out to an experienced source qualified to formulate your project and follow it to a successful conclusion.
George Crawford is the principal of Green Partners, New York, N.Y.