Last Updated on March 20, 2022 by Mary Pressler
Oncor Energy Incentive Programs for Texas Homeowners
Does your residence qualify?
Oncor’s Commitment to Energy Efficiency
Oncor Electric Delivery is the largest transmission and distribution utility in Texas, serving more than 10 million customers. Oncor is characterized by its solid commitment to helping its customers improve their energy efficiency, and they run some of the largest incentive programs in the Lone Star State, including Take a Load Off Texas.
Oncor offers programs for all main customer categories: residential, business, government, education and nonprofit organizations.
Five Energy Incentive Programs from Oncor
Oncor’s incentive programs target key areas like insulation, heating and cooling equipment, solar power systems, and high-efficiency lighting. There are five programs that offer cash incentives:
- Low Income Weatherization
- Home Energy Efficiency
- Residential Solar Photovoltaic
- Commercial Standard Offer Program
- Commercial Solar Photovoltaic
Oncor incentive programs run annually between January and November, but each program has its own schedule. Keep in mind that funding is limited for each year, and you have a better chance of getting incentives by acting early. Oncor has assigned the following budgets for 2022:
|ONCOR INCENTIVE PROGRAM||2022 BUDGET|
|Low-Income Weatherization||US$ 800,270|
|Home Energy Efficiency||US$ 20,000|
|Residential Solar Photovoltaic||US$ 1,348,950|
|Commercial Standard Offer Program||US$ 7,030,930|
|Commercial Solar Photovoltaic||US$ 2,038,440|
|TOTAL INCENTIVE BUDGET||US$ 11,238,590|
Oncor has a total budget of over $11.2 million to fund energy efficiency measures and solar power in 2022. Residential customers have access to a total budget of $2,169,220, while commercial customers get $9,069,370. Most of the incentive budget is assigned to energy efficiency ($7,851,200), with a smaller fraction assigned to solar power ($3,387,390).
- When improving energy efficiency in a building, the recommended starting point is insulation.
- This way, heating and cooling upgrades are calculated with reduced loads, which means the new units can have a higher efficiency and a smaller installed capacity.
- A solar photovoltaic system is recommended after improving energy efficiency, since the generation capacity required to meet your needs will be less.
Oncor also offers the Retail Products Program, which offers point-of-sale discounts for ENERGY STAR appliances, including LED lighting and smart thermostats. Unlike the five incentive programs above, which offer incentives through approved contractors, the Retail Products Program is offered through retailers like Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart.
Low-Income Weatherization Standard Offer Program
Air leaks and deficient home insulation increase the workload on heating and cooling systems. This happens because they must compensate for a higher heat gain during summer, and a higher heat loss during winter. Since the energy consumption of HVAC equipment increases, electricity and gas bills also go up.
The Low-Income Weatherization Standard Offer Program (LIW SOP) offers cash incentives for Texas households with an income at 200% of the federal poverty line or below. The program helps these homes improve their building envelope at little or no cost. The three most common upgrades for building envelopes in residential properties are insulation, caulking and weatherstripping:
- Insulation reduces heat flow through roofs, walls and floors. This keeps the heat outside during summer, and inside during winter. Insulation is important in all areas, but the roof and basement have a higher priority – unwanted heat flow occurs mostly in these areas.
- Caulking is used to seal air leaks around unmoving components like lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, door frames and window frames.
- Weatherstripping has the same function as caulking, but is used around moving elements like doors and windows.
Home upgrades from the LIW Program provide immediate energy savings without having to upgrade equipment, often at zero cost. In 2021, the LIW program completed 451 air sealing projects and 611 ceiling insulation projects. The incentive rates for insulation are calculated per square foot, and the rate depends on the type of heating system used:
|Type of Heating System||LIW Incentive per Sq. Ft.||Incentive for 1,500 Sq. Ft.|
|Electric resistance heater||$0.46 / sq.ft.||$690|
|Electric heat pump||$0.21 / sq.ft.||$315|
|Gas-fired heater||$0.18 / sq.ft.||$270|
Air sealing and insulation upgrades must meet certain requirements to be eligible, which are summarized below:
|Type of Weatherization||Approved Materials||Technical Requirements|
|Air infiltration reduction with caulking||-Acrylic latex + silicone
-Polyurethane expanding foam
-Fiber-backing mastic compound
-Visible caulk should be clear
-Minimum service life: 10 years
|Air infiltration reduction with weatherstripping||-Foam tape
-Adjustable and permanently attached
-Minimum service life: 10 years
|Insulation||-Mineral fiber (blanket or loose fill)
-Vermiculite (loose fill)
-Perlite (loose fill)
-Ceiling insulation up to R-22 is eligible for replacement under the program, and the upgrade must achieve at least R-38.
-At least R-13 for walls
-At least R-19 for knee walls
-At least R-15 for floor (pier and beam).
*Infiltration reduction must be validated with a blower door test, and the contractor must also test for carbon monoxide (CO) to ensure occupant safety.
To complement weatherization, the LIW program also offers incentives for energy efficiency measures that cover areas like air conditioning, ventilation and hot water. Measures that have been validated in the Texas Technical Reference Manual (TRM) are eligible, and contractors can also propose custom measures, subject to approval. However, additional measures can only be proposed after improving the building envelope with insulation or air sealing, since the program focuses on weatherization.
There are two incentive options in the LIW program. The Reserve Option is for homes sizes ranging from single-family to fourplex, and the incentive amount ranges from $500 to $15,000 per project. The Multifamily Option is for larger properties, and the incentive amount ranges from $10,000 to $150,000.
- The 2022 LIW program opened for applications on January 27.
- The LIW program will close if the budget is depleted before the deadline, but Oncor may decide to increase funding.
- An additional incentive of 15% is available for projects outside of the five-county metroplex (Dallas, Tarrant, Rockwall, Denton, Ellis, Johnson and Collin).
Home Energy Efficiency Standard Offer Program from Oncor
The Home Energy Efficiency Standard Offer Program (HEE SOP) also targets homes, similar to the LIW program. However the HEE program is available for all residential customers of Oncor regardless of income. If you live in a rented property and the landlord approves the program upgrades, you are also eligible.
The HEE program completed 16 ceiling insulation projects in 2021, hence its low starting budget for 2022 ($20,000). However, Oncor can provide additional funds if the program has higher demand this year. Incentives are calculated per square foot based on the type of heating system, similar to the LIW program but with lower rates:
|Type of Heating System||HEE Incentive per Sq. Ft.||Incentive for 1,000 Sq. Ft.|
|Electric resistance heater||$0.15 / sq.ft.||$225|
|Electric heat pump||$0.13 / sq.ft.||$195|
|Gas-fired heater||$0.10 / sq.ft||$150|
The approved materials for insulation are the same as the LIW program, and also the technical requirements (see previous section). The HEE program also offers incentives of up to $2,800 for HVAC upgrades that meet the following conditions:
- Eligible types: packaged units, split and mini-split units, DC inverter systems
- At least 12 EER for cooling (Energy Efficiency Ratio)
- At least 8.5 HSPF for heat pumps (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
- Minimum capacity of 1.5 tons, maximum capacity of 65,000 BTU/h (5.4 ton)
- At least SEER 18 is required for air conditioning systems in new constructions
The HEE program offers three incentive options. The Reserve Option is for homes from single-family to fourplex, with incentives from $500 to $15,000. The HVAC Option discussed above offers incentives of up to $2,800 for single-family homes, and there is a Multifamily HVAC Option with incentives of up to $40,000 per project.
- The 2022 HEE program opened for applications on January 27.
- No more applications will be accepted if the program budget is depleted, but Oncor may decide to increase funding based on program performance.
- An additional incentive of 110% is available for projects outside of the five-county metroplex (Dallas, Tarrant, Rockwall, Denton, Ellis, Johnson and Collin).
Differences Between Oncor’s LIW and HEE Programs
The two programs mentioned above have some overlap in the home upgrades that are eligible for incentives. The following table summarizes the coverage of each program:
|Type of Home Upgrade||Low-Income Weatherization||Home Energy Efficiency|
|Central air conditioner||YES||YES|
|Central heat pump||YES||YES|
|ENERGY STAR clothes washer||YES||YES|
|ENERGY STAR dishwasher||YES|
|ENERGY STAR refrigerator||YES|
|ENERGY STAR window||YES||YES|
|Energy efficient shower heads||YES|
|Ground source heat pump||YES|
|Residential wall insulation||YES||YES|
|Residential water heater jacket||YES||YES|
|Water heater pipe insulation||YES||YES|
|Window air conditioner||YES|
Oncor’s Solar Photovoltaic Residential Program
Oncor homeowners who plan to install solar panels can reduce their costs with the Solar Photovoltaic Standard Offer Program (SPVSOP) , increasing the return on investment. If the solar power system meets the following requirements, it is eligible:
- Generation capacity between 3 kW DC and 15 kW DC.
- The installation is new, and there are no solar panels already operating in the property.
- Azimuth angle between 90° and 270°
- Residential solar PV systems must include energy storage. This is a new requirement, which was introduced in the 2022 version of the solar incentive program.
The maximum incentive amount is $9,000. Unlike the HEE program, which is available for renters, the SPV program only applies for Oncor customers who one the home where they live. This benefit can be combined with the nationwide Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar power, which was extended for two years in December 2020.
- Solar power systems installed in 2022 get a 26% federal tax credit.
- The incentive is reduced to 22% in 2023.
- In 2024 the federal tax credit is reduced to 10% for businesses, and 0% for homeowners.
Home solar installations in the US currently have a price of around $3,000 per kW, which means that a 15-kW system costs around $45,000. If a system of this size gets the full incentive of $9,000, the net cost is decreased to $36,000. Then, the 26% federal tax credit is equivalent to $9,360, which leads to a final cost of $26,640 ($1,776 per kilowatt in this case).
In 2021, Oncor provided $1,797,902.46 in home solar incentives. A total of 325 installations were completed, with an average size of 4.49 kW and an average incentive of $5,533.30 per system. The 2022 program opened for applications on January 25.
Oncor Retail Products Program
- Discount coupons are available for both online and in-store purchases.
- Oncor has partnered with major retailers like Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart.
- You can select your city in the Oncor Retail Products Program website, and it will show a list of participating stores in your area.
This incentive program is available for both homeowners and renters, as long as they are Oncor customers. If you’re a renter, the only extra requirement is getting approval from the landlord.
The Oncor Retail Products Program includes $50 discount coupons for smart thermostats, which help you save on air conditioning. There are several models available from leading brands like Amazon, ecobee, Emerson Sensi, Google Nest and Honeywell.
In the case of LED bulbs, the discounts available vary depending on the specific product you pick. Eligible light bulbs have Oncor program signage on their packaging, which makes them easy to identify.
Oncor Incentives 2022 – Act Fast
Oncor’s incentive programs allow you to reduce your energy expenses with a two-fold approach: reducing the energy spent on heating and cooling, and using solar panels to generate your own energy once your consumption has been reduced.
Just keep in mind that the incentives are given to service providers, who then reflect them as a discount when they carry out home upgrades. Make sure you get many proposals before choosing a contractor, ensuring that you get the best deal available.
Acting fast is also recommended, since these incentive programs are limited by a yearly budget.
Past Incentives: 2019 ENERGY-SAVING TREES PROGRAM from Oncor
For the 8th year, Oncor has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees Program to give away 8,000 trees to customers. Oncor customers can receive up to two free 5 gallon trees per household. The trees are between 1 and 3 feet tall and will be delivered to customers this fall. Get more information and sign up for the Energy Saving’s Tree Program today! Trees are limited.