7. Look for rebates
In addition to high return on investment, and low total cost of ownership, utility company rebates can serve as an incentive to consider retrofitting equipment with high-efficiency motors.
Before the implementation of EISA, the federal government had incentive programs for industrial facilities that undertook energy-saving projects, but for the most part, those rebates have dried up. Fortunately, there are still many electrical utility companies that offer similar programs without federal funding.
Since these programs aren’t standardized nationwide, it is difficult to predict how much a facility can recover from a motor retrofit project. Vande Hoef recommends contacting your electric company to determine how many incentive dollars are available.
“Most utilities, including small municipal-owned ones, will offer an incentive to help you purchase energy-saving motors, VFDs, lighting fixtures and HVAC or compressor controls,” says Vande Hoef. “Those programs are as wide and varied as the number of utility companies themselves, so it’s a matter of sitting down with your customer service representative and seeing what they can offer you.”
8. Consult your utility company
In addition to rebates, many utility companies offer free energy audits to their customers so they can recommend other energy-saving projects. They also will inform you about their policies regarding limits on initial start-up loads. Some companies require their customers to use Premium Efficient motors or energy-saving gear drives to minimize or regulate power draw on their supply.
VitaBuilders’ Andler notes, “A particular utility company in Michigan requires all newly installed tower dryers to have a variable-speed start-up, while companies in surrounding states have different policies. In Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, many electric companies require a soft start — which powers up slowly, and then ramps up — but do not mandate using a VFD. So before installing anything with a large power draw, check your local supplier’s policies.”