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Energy Incentive Programs, South Carolina

Updated April 2013

What public purpose-funded energy efficiency programs are available in my state?

South Carolina has no public-purpose-funded energy efficiency programs. The state's utilities budgeted over $30 million for energy efficiency and load management programs in 2012.

What utility energy efficiency programs are available to me?

Duke Energy's Smart $aver® Incentives program offers prescriptive rebates for a wide variety of energy-efficient electrical equipment, including lighting, heating and cooling equipment, chillers, pumps, variable frequency drives, process and food service equipment. Their custom incentives program provides cash incentives for non-prescriptive measures that demonstrably reduce electricity consumption and demand, e.g., thermal improvements to roof and wall insulation, efficient window upgrades, energy management systems, HVAC tune-ups, energy-saving process upgrades and retro-commissioning. An independent measurement and verification check-up is required for payment and usually occurs within a few months of installation. Incentive levels vary depending on the calculated energy savings, but cannot exceed 50% of the incremental measure cost. Projects may combine both prescriptive and custom measures. $50,000 per facility is the annual maximum for all incentives.

Progress Energy offers its Energy Efficiency for Business program for both retrofit and new construction applications. Prescriptive rebates available for efficient equipment include lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, and premium efficiency motors. The custom option provides for whole building measures and equipment not on the prescriptive list, with remuneration of $0.08 per first-year kWh saved (up to 75% of the incremental measure cost) for retrofit and individual measure new construction applications. For whole-building new construction applications, the rebate is either $0.09/kWh or $0.14/kWh (for projects showing at least 10% and 20% savings relative to code, respectively). In addition, generous financial incentives are available for energy-efficient design and building simulation modeling in new construction projects. Feasibility studies for existing facilities are subsidized at up to 50% of cost. Pre-approval applications are required for some elements of the program and encouraged for all.

Through its Energy Wise initiative, South Carolina Electric and Gas provides prescriptive rebates to its commercial and industrial customers on a wide array of efficient electric products ranging from chillers and VFDs to commercial kitchen equipment to power strips with occupancy sensors to control office equipment. There is also a custom option, which pays up to 50% of the labor and materials costs for energy-efficient retrofit work and up to 75% of the incremental materials costs for new construction projects.

Santee Cooper, a state-owned water and power generation utility, sponsors the Reduce The Use incentives program covering a broad swath of electricity-saving products, ranging from compressed air systems to building envelope improvements. There is also a custom option through which customers can get incentives of $0.10/kWh of verified first-year savings for electric conservation projects that fall outside of the prescriptive offerings.

Piedmont Natural Gas offers water heater rebates of $250 to commercial customers for replacing existing natural gas water heaters with qualifying high efficiency (> 0.82 energy factor) tankless models.

What load management/demand response options are available to me?

Duke Energy offers several load management programs:

  • The PowerShare program provides financial incentives for reducing energy consumption levels during peak use periods. Customers may choose from a variety of curtailment options, including voluntary and mandatory load drops. There are also options to participate with self-generation equipment and to tailor the program for the number of events your site is willing to participate in each year.

  • The On-Site Generation Service Program targets customers that do not currently own back-up generation but would like to. Duke will install, own, and operate new generators (300 kW or larger) for participants willing to let the company use them in times of grid stress or high wholesale prices. There is a monthly service fee for this rate based on the levelized cost to own and operate the equipment.

  • Real time pricing is available to Duke Energy's large customers through its SC Hourly Pricing for Incremental Load rate schedule. Customers are notified of the hourly energy prices for the following day and are alternatively credited or charged, based on the hourly price, for usage below or above a pre-determined customer baseline load profile.

Progress Energy's load management incentives include the following:

  • The optional real-time pricing tariff is available to up to 20 large customers (demand of 1,000 kW or greater). Participants are notified a day in advance of the hourly energy prices for the following day, and are charged or credited at these rates for any usage above or below a customer baseline load (CBL) that is based on their historical use.

  • Several available curtailable rate options offer favorable terms for general-use electricity in exchange for dedicated load that customers can reduce at the utility's request.

What distributed energy resource options are available to me?

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) provides information on programs that offer incentives for renewable distributed generation. The following programs may be of interest to federal customers.

  • The Biomass Energy Production Incentive provides a $0.01/kWh or $0.30/therm state tax credit (up to $100,000 per year) to biomass (including landfill gas and biodigester) energy generators. The federal government is not a tax payer, but federal facilities whose on-site plants are developed and owned by private contractors may be able to benefit from this program.

  • Duke Energy's Standard Purchase Offer for RECs, while stemming from a renewable portfolio standard in North Carolina, permits South Carolinian owners of renewable systems connected to Duke's grid system to be remunerated by the utility following the same terms as its customers in North Carolina. Prices are $20/SREC for solar output (of at least 35 MWh/year) and $5/REC (minimum 50 MWh) for the output of other renewable systems. Contracts are for between 5 and 15 years.

Are there energy efficiency programs sponsored by state government?

The South Carolina Energy Office offers a variety of energy efficiency programs, but none is currently available to federal facilities.

What additional opportunities are available to me?

Federal customers whose utilities have area-wide supply contracts through GSA (such as Duke Power and South Carolina Electric & Gas) may be able to take advantage of 3rd-party financed energy efficiency projects called utility energy services contracts (UESCs). Information is available on GSA's Energy Center of Expertise Library Page. Federal facilities should contact their account executive to determine the level of each utility's participation.

NOTE: Energy efficiency funds and demand response programs are updated at least annually.