Denton Shifts Solar Rebate Funds to Support GreenSense Programs
As of October 1, Denton has discontinued its solar rebate program, shifting its focus and funding toward the GreenSense Incentive Program. The move aims to promote energy-efficient home improvements among Denton Municipal Electric customers.
The GreenSense program offers rebates for specific home improvement purchases, and with the cessation of the solar rebate program, GreenSense will receive an additional $1 million in funding. Furthermore, it will introduce a new rebate for HVAC tune-ups.
Katherine Barnett, sustainability manager in environmental services and sustainability, highlighted that the increased funding will encourage more homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades, ultimately reducing their energy consumption and lowering their monthly bills. She also emphasized that solar energy may not be suitable for every household.
Under the now-discontinued solar rebate program, individuals who purchased solar panels and qualified for the rebate received a partial refund. However, a city news release stated that energy efficiency incentives had a more substantial impact per dollar spent compared to solar rebates. Specifically, energy efficiency programs spent $2,233,682 to provide 6,085 rebates, whereas solar rebates cost $3,988,237 and benefited 700 participants.
Stuart Birdseye, Denton Municipal Electric’s external affairs administrator, emphasized that the removal of the solar rebate program will only affect Denton residents considering future solar panel installations and won’t impact those who have already received rebates. He noted that the shift in focus will lead to lower energy consumption, which, in turn, will reduce overall CO2 emissions.
The GreenSense program has been in operation longer than the solar rebate program, offering various rebates for items such as smart thermostats, duct repairs, new windows, solar screens, and e-bikes. Most of these rebates cover a percentage of the cost of energy-efficient improvements.
James Douglas, the conservation program coordinator with Sustainable Denton, explained that these rebates aim to assist residents in covering the upfront costs of home upgrades, particularly when replacing essential items like HVAC systems. Besides cost savings, energy-efficient improvements enhance residents’ comfort in their homes, which is especially crucial in Texas, where extreme temperatures are common.
Douglas pointed out that saving energy also reduces the city’s overall energy demand, making Denton more resilient and eco-friendly. Since the discontinuation of the solar rebate program, GreenSense has already received 30 rebate applications, demonstrating residents’ enthusiasm for energy-efficient upgrades and the associated benefits, including cost savings and increased comfort.