The IRA will provide nearly $200 million in new funding to North Carolina for rebates to help make energy efficiency upgrades to single and multifamily homes. These rebates are split into two programs; the HOMES program and the High-Efficiency Electric Home rebate program (HEEH). These programs are structured to address different economic groups and offer rebates for different kinds of upgrades, so it is important to understand which one best applies to you and your home.
PLEASE NOTE: Home energy rebates are not currently available as the United States Department of Energy is still working to develop a timeline to distribute IRA funding to states and Native American tribes. The tentative DOE timeline found here (FAQ #4) sets summer 2023 as the target for releasing guidance to states, which is needed before NCDEQ can begin implementing IRA rebates.
Households looking for home energy retrofit assistance today cannot yet access these rebates, but may be eligible for other federal programs, including tax credits or the Weatherization Assistance Program.
Below are overviews of benefits expected to be part of the IRA home rebates once they are implemented.
The HOMES program will allocate over $98 million to North Carolina to address whole-house energy efficiency upgrades. The program is intended to offer rebates of up to $4,000 depending on how much energy the project saves once it is complete, increasing to up to $8,000 for families making up to 80 percent of median income in their area.
HOMES program rebates also extend to multifamily unit owners on a per-unit basis.
High-Efficiency Electric Homes (HEEH)
The High-Efficiency Electric Homes program will allocate another nearly $98 million to help low-to-moderate-income families purchase efficient appliances. Items such as heat pumps and electric cooking equipment may qualify for rebates. Additional funding exists for upgrading wiring, electrical panels, insulation and air sealing.
Eligibility for rebates is determined using a complicated array of data points, and the North Carolina State Energy Office is working to develop solutions to simplify the process and make it seamless for consumers and retailers. As part of this, SEO is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Energy on how to best implement rebates, and is also soliciting input from stakeholders on ways to make rebates easier to access. SEO expects to be able to implement rebates in the second half of 2023.
Rebate amounts are based on a long list of factors, including median income in your area and how much a new upgrade improves the energy efficiency of your home. The post-project energy savings performance of your home can be determined in two ways; modeling and measuring. Modeling involves estimating the projected impact of a new upgrade before it is installed, while measuring means going into a home after a project is complete and assessing its impact on-site. Modeling gives customers more certainty around what they will be eligible for ahead of time, while measuring does not give information pre-project but also carries the potential for higher rebates.
As of January 2023, it is unclear if rebates will be able to be applied retroactively to purchases made before the rebates are implemented. As a precaution, homeowners considering making energy efficiency upgrades to their homes before rebates are available should assume that those upgrades will not be eligible for rebates. This may change as more information becomes available from the federal government.