Senator Reed Seeks to Help RIers Cash-In on Clean Energy Upgrades

The vast majority of Rhode Islanders are concerned about the impacts of climate change.  They’re also concerned about paying their monthly utility bills and fueling up at the gas pump.  And they want affordable, reliable, durable, and effective appliances that get the job done and don’t cost a lot to maintain.

Earlier this summer, Congress passed a new law to address climate change and help consumers save money and enhance American manufacturing and energy independence.

The Inflation Reduction Act (P.L. 117-169), which President Biden signed into law, is designed to make clean energy more abundant, affordable, and accessible.  As the new year approaches and the Biden Administration coordinates with states on implementing the law, U.S. Senator Jack Reed is teaming up with Rewiring America and Taco Comfort Solutions to educate consumers about opportunities to save money and upgrade their homes.  Reed wants to help Rhode Islanders save potentially thousands of dollars on heating/cooling system upgrades, energy-efficient appliances, and new electric vehicles by taking advantage of green energy incentives and tax credits.

Examples of savings on energy-efficient products and appliances through tax credits and rebates for Rhode Island homeowners and small businesses include a 50 to 100 percent discount on home energy efficiency and electric appliances; a 30 percent discount on home solar and battery installation; up to $7,500 for electric vehicles; $8,000 for heat pumps; and $5 per square foot for energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Some of the incentives — which eligible consumers can subtract from their 2022 tax bills next spring — are already in effect, some will start on January 1, and others, including major rebates for energy saving upgrades, will be available as soon as states receive federal funds and finalize plans to administer the programs.

Today Reed joined Rewiring America CEO and co-founder Ari Matusiak and Taco Comfort Solutions CEO Cheryl Merchant to outline the historic climate provisions and energy savings in the Inflation Reduction Act , the law’s impact on lowering household energy costs, and how Rhode Island manufacturers like Taco Comfort Solutions are poised to provide more consumers with innovative new products and technologies like heat pumps that are more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable, and can help households achieve significant cost-savings.

“Energy prices are rising, but so are financial incentives to switch to more energy-efficient, clean energy appliances that will lower utility bills now and in the future.  If your old furnace or A/C is on its last legs, now is the time to go electric and capitalize on new savings,” said Senator Reed.  “Under the new law, Rhode Islanders can get rebates of up to $8,000 for heat pumps and up to $4,000 for electric panel upgrades, plus a lot more.  It helps people cut costs while reducing their carbon footprint.  The new law makes wind, solar, EV adoption and renewable storage technologies more affordable and accessible.  I want to ensure Rhode Islanders are prepared to get the most bang for their buck as we move toward a cleaner, more sustainable and more affordable energy future.”

The new law aims to reduce the United States’ carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 through electrification and energy efficiency.

Rewiring America, an electrification non-profit, works with businesses, consumers and governments to electrify everything.  The organization’s handy online calculator allows households to estimate how much they can save by switching to efficient electric appliances.  Users can input a few details, including zip code, household size, and income level, to get personalized estimates.  Rewiring America estimates that transitioning to electrification can save households, on average, $1,800 per year on energy bills.

For example, a homeowner in East Providence making $100,000 with a household of four people could find out they qualify for an estimated total of $25,700 in energy incentives and an estimated $1,250 in energy bill savings per year.

“Every Rhode Islander now has an electric bank account to help them swap out dirty machines for new, clean electric appliances over the next ten years. Our job is to make people aware of this account, because if they don’t use it, that’s emissions locked in and savings lost,” said Ari Matusiak. “We want Rhode Islanders to use their electric bank accounts to the full $3 billion dollars of electric potential available to them, to maximize benefit for all residents and communities.”

Today’s event was held at Taco Comfort Solutions facility in Cranston.  Taco is a family-owned company based in Cranston, that engineers and manufactures high-efficiency heating, cooling, and air quality comfort systems.  The company employs about 500 workers in Rhode Island and also has locations in several other cities around the country, as well as facilities in Italy and Czech Republic.

Heat pumps are becoming a hot new item this winter.  A heat pump is a single electric appliance that can replace both your traditional air conditioner and home heating system (like a furnace or boiler).  Heat pumps are 3-5 times more energy efficient than traditional heating systems and work in all climates.  Taco’s technological improvements to its line of heat pumps have made them even more efficient and led to increased sales.  The new incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act are also expected to ratchet up demand by making the choice to get more efficient and effective heat pumps more affordable.

“All of us at Taco are focused on engineering and manufacturing the most energy efficient products for use in the HVAC and plumbing industry,” said Taco Comfort Solutions CEO Cheryl Merchant.  “We are proud of our industry leading efficiency ratings for our commercial and industrial pumps, residential 00e circulators that use up to 85 percent less energy than conventional pumps, and our new award-winning heat pumps that are up to 4 times more efficient than a conventional furnace. And they’re all built right here in Cranston, Rhode Island.”

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress provided $9 billion to states nationwide in for up-front discounts on electrification and on energy conservation upgrades.  Rhode Island is getting $63.8 million to support residential adoption of energy efficiency and home electrification.  Under the law, states administer these federal funds.  Rhode Island’s Office of Energy Resources will be the state agency responsible for overseeing and distributing the clean energy funds from the Inflation Reduction Act.

To help consumers understand the law and guide them through different options for energy savings, the Biden Administration created a federal Clean Energy for All website that includes helpful information and lets users who are interested in installing rooftop solar panels or purchasing new appliances input information to find out what type of savings they may be eligible for.

New energy savings will come online in the new year.  And the entire Inflation Reduction Act will be around for a decade before it sunsets in 2032. 

The White House estimates the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion metric tons by 2030 – 10 times more climate impact than any other single piece of legislation ever enacted.  It also projects the law will invest $4.1 billion in clean power generation and storage to Rhode Island over the next eight years.

Rhode Island recently enacted a law requiring 100 percent of its electricity to be offset by renewables by 2033.



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