Last Updated on November 20, 2021 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 electric 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 state including www.takealoadofftexas.com.

The company offers programs for all main customer categories: residential, business, government, education and nonprofit organizations.

Oncor Energy Efficiency Incentive Program Texas

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

  1. Low Income Weatherization
  2. Home Energy Efficiency
  3. Residential Solar Photovoltaic
  4. Commercial Standard Offer Program
  5. Commercial Solar Photovoltaic

Oncor incentive programs run annually between February 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 2021:

ONCOR INCENTIVE PROGRAM 2021 BUDGET
Low-Income Weatherization US$ 6,800,270
Home Energy Efficiency US$ 9,113,190
Residential Solar Photovoltaic US$ 1,348,950
Commercial Standard Offer Program US$ 7,353,614
Commercial Solar Photovoltaic US$ 2,038,440
TOTAL INCENTIVE BUDGET US$ 26,654,464

Oncor has a total budget of over $26.6 million to fund energy efficiency measures and solar power in 2021. Residential customers have access to a total of $17,262,410, while commercial customers will get $9,392,054. Most of the incentive budget is assigned to energy efficiency ($23,267,074), 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 systems increases, electricity and gas bills also rise.

The Low-Income Weatherization Standard Offer Program (LIW SOP) offers cash incentives for Texas households with an income below 200% of the federal poverty line. 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 program completed 14,147 air sealing projects, 1,675 ceiling insulation projects, and 306 showerhead upgrades. Insulation rates 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 1,000 Sq. Ft.
Electric resistance heater $0.46 / sq.ft. $460
Electric heat pump $0.21 / sq.ft. $210
Gas-fired heater $0.18 / sq.ft. $180

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

-Caulk

-Polyurethane expanding foam

-Elastomeric sealant

-Fiber-backing mastic compound

-ASTM compliant

-Visible caulk should be clear

-Minimum service life: 10 years

Air infiltration reduction with weatherstripping -Foam tape

-Rigid gaskets

-Closed cell

-UV resistant

-Adjustable and permanently attached

-Minimum service life: 10 years

Insulation -Mineral fiber (blanket or loose fill)

-Cellulose

-Vermiculite (loose fill)

-Perlite (loose fill)

-ASTM compliant

-Ceiling insulation up to R-22 is eligible, and the upgrade must achieve at least R-38.

-R-13 for walls

-R-19 for knee walls

-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 – these 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 Reserve Option will be open for applications from March 1 to November 15, 2021, and the Multifamily Option will be open from March 1 to September 30.
  • The LIW program will close if the budget is depleted before the deadline, but Oncor may decide to increase funding.
  • There is an additional incentive of 15% 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.

In 2020, the HEE program completed 3,637 air sealing projects and 64 ceiling insulation projects. Incentives are calculated based on square footage and 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. $150
Electric heat pump $0.13 / sq.ft. $130
Gas-fired heater $0.10 / sq.ft $100

 

The approved materials for insulation and air sealing 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 systems, mini splits, 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/hour (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 also a Multifamily HVAC Option with incentives of up to $40,000 per project.

  • The HEE program is receiving applications from March 1 to November 22, 2021.
  • 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 15% applies for projects outside of the five-county metroplex.

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
Faucet aerators YES
Home weatherization YES YES
Ceiling insulation YES YES
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
Floor insulation 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 1 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°

The maximum incentive amount is $8,500. 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 before the end of 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 $8,500, the net cost is decreased to $36,500. Then, the 26% federal tax credit is equivalent to $9,490, which leads to a final cost of $27,010.

In 2020, Oncor provided a total of $1,905,141 in home solar incentives. 376 installations were completed, with an average size of 4.15 kW and an average incentive of $5,067 per system. Applications for the 2021 program will be received between January 27 and April 16.

Oncor Retail Products Program

If you’re an Oncor customer, this program offers point-of-sale discounts for LED light bulbs and home appliances with the ENERGY STAR label.

  • 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 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.

Take Advantage Now

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.

Get a Smart Thermostat from Oncor

Oncor smart thermostat rebate Take $40 off a Nest or Ecobee thermostat with this offer from Oncor.

Electricity prices in Texas reach their highest point during summer, and 2021 will not be the exception. Actually, this year is a special case due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, and the population will be staying at home more time with air conditioning.

Smart thermostats help regulate energy usage within your home or business. Right now, customers of Oncor can save $50 on a Nest or Ecobee thermostat through this limited time offer. Get your coupon here.

Sources

2021 Oncor Residential Program Presentation
https://eepm.oncor.com/Documents/HEE%20&%20LIW%20Kickoff.pdf

2021 Home Energy Efficiency Standard Offer Program Manual
https://eepm.oncor.com/Documents/HEE%20SOP%20Program%20Manual.pdf

2021 Low Income Weatherization Standard Offer Program Manual
https://eepm.oncor.com/Documents/LIW%20SOP%20Program%20Manual.pdf

2021 Oncor Solar Program Presentation
https://eepm.oncor.com/Documents/Solar%20Kickoff%20Presentation.pdf

2021 Solar Photovoltaic Standard Offer Program Manual
https://eepm.oncor.com/Documents/SVSOP%20Program%20Manual.pdf

Get two free trees from Oncor 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.