The advent of 2022 promised to bring with it a slew of changes to energy efficiency programs across Massachusetts as the state re-evaluated its climate goals. In February, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order approving the 2022-2024 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan with a budget of $3.94 billion. This is expected to deliver 845,000 tons of emissions reductions towards the Commonwealth’s 2030 greenhouse gas goals and is estimated to provide $9 billion in benefits to the state through a host of new incentives.
Some of the most significant changes to the MassSave program are the new rebate amounts introduced for electric heat pump systems, with preference being given to whole home systems as shown below:
As seen from the table, the new heat pump rebates are the most generous ever provided by the MassSave program in a bid to electrify heating across the Commonwealth. However, these rebates are also accompanied by additional requirements that need to be met to take advantage of the program. For the Whole-Home heat pump rebate, the homeowner must complete a home energy assessment (HEA) and require less than $1000 of weatherization improvements. If more than $1000 of weatherization opportunities are identified, they must be completed to access the rebate. Similarly, all partial-home/supplemental heat pump systems are required to install integrated control systems that must be set at or below 30°F for oil/gas systems and below 15°F for propane systems. Additionally, the program has also introduced a $500 weatherization bonus to customers who choose to complete this work prior to installing a partial-home heat pump.
The new 3-year plan also provides customers and contractors access to additional resources to streamline the rebate submission process. The MassSave Heating & Cooling Online Rebate portal allows customers to submit rebates directly online, which prevents any issues with missing information. The program also enables contractors to directly receive the customer rebate as a Verified Third-Party Payee (V3P) pending pre-verification and approval. Starting in 2022, MassSave is introducing the Heat Pump Installer Network (HPIN), which will provide participating contractors with training support, and will be listed on the Mass Save website. Installers wishing to participate have one year to complete required training programs. Starting in 2023, contractors will need to participate in and meet the requirements of the HPIN for projects to qualify for incentives.
These changes represent a monumental effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is now up to the rest of the energy efficiency industry to raise awareness about the benefits of the program to ensure that customers are in the best possible position to take advantage of these policies.