COLORADO SPRINGS — As renewable energy moves in and our world electrifies, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) is canceling the LED lighting rebate and rooftop solar programs. The programs encouraged businesses to switch to LEDs and homeowners to install solar panels.
The decision to end the rebate comes after incentives were launched in 2013. Companies that helped businesses switch, now have three months to complete scheduled projects.
“They are unhappy,” said Rich Spreier, Owner of Sunbright LED systems.
Spreier has lived in Colorado Springs for 50 years.
“I’ve been converting companies to LEDs for eight years now,” Spreier explained.
His company helps manufacturing business save money, and Spreier says the lights we currently use are full of mercury and phosphorus.
“A lot of businesses would not have made the switch without the incentives,” Spreier said.
His company used CSU’s incentive program to offer businesses a rebate for switching to LEDs, but that program now ends on November 15.
“We have jobs where they have over 10,000 fixtures and it takes three months to get the job done, especially with supply chain issues,” Spreier explained.
CSU said the utility market shows that the incentive is no longer necessary with the cost of LED.
“When you look at the tax incentives, and our net metering pricing, that supersedes the benefit that customers were getting from the rebate,” Steve Berry, Spokesperson for Colorado Springs Utilities said.
CSU believes the incentives have done their job and it’s time to spread the funds elsewhere.
“The biggest need is this push to more electrification,” Berry explained.
CSU is doing that with the closure of the Martin Drake Coal Plant. Spreier believes cutting the incentive program detours Colorado Springs from adopting renewable energy.
“They converted it to natural gas which is a good decision, but they still need to control the electricity demand,” Spreier said. “Especially if you’re decommissioning a power plant of that size.”
Spreier and other companies plan to appeal to City Council, which serves as the utility board on the issue. CSU isn’t sure if it will extend the deadline.
“We certainly want to try to work with people as best we can,” Berry said.