Energy Trust helps Oregon farmers save

Doug Heredos

Capital Press

Property owners only have to wait four to six weeks for energy-saving rebates from Energy Trust of Oregon.

According to Susan Jowaiszas, a senior marketing manager for Energy Trust, in 2013, the nonprofit paid out more than $1.5 million in irrigation and greenhouse incentives for 341 projects. Energy rebate programs available now will continue into 2015, she said.

Most incentive programs are vendor-driven, meaning an industrial or wholesale supplier helps people get the most out of their energy dollars by determining the parts needed and total project costs for Energy Trust programs.

Doug Heredos, Energy Trust program manager for agriculture, said the most common incentives are rebates for irrigation hardware, such as sprinkler and gasket replacement.

According to Heredos, one online application form applies to all the irrigation rebates. He noted that Energy Trust does not have a maximum monetary rebate, but it does cap the incentive based on project costs. For example, there isn’t a limit on the number of leaky or inefficient sprinklers that can be replaced with new low-pressure sprinklers, but total rebates for entire sprinkler projects will usually be around 30 percent of the market value.

“Nozzles, gaskets, sprinklers — we just add up all the project costs and make sure the incentive does not exceed that,” Heredos said. “If you were replacing a worn sprinkler with a new one, you could get $4 per sprinkler.”

Other incentive programs popular with irrigators offer rebates for updating handlines and mainlines. Heredos said irrigators can receive up to $2.75 for each replaced gasket and $10 for each section of repaired handline. The handline repairs can range from fixing cracked welds to pressing on new ends, he said.

Oregon residents can also receive a 25-cents-per-kilowatt-hour rebate for upgrading to a drip irrigation system, according to Heredos. He said the rebate is available for up to 50 percent of the project cost.

“Drip irrigation is becoming more popular and more affordable, and it uses much less water,” Heredos said. “If you wanted to, you could remove the overhead system entirely and save a lot of water and a lot of energy.”

“We can offer incentives for new construction, but the incentive will be a little less than if they were upgrading,” he added.

Lighting is another logical place ag professionals can look for energy savings, according to Jowaiszas.

“The incentives are available,” she said.

Jowaiszas noted that Energy Trust offers several energy rebates ranging from solar to natural gas and geothermal. She said the solar program covers all of Energy Trust’s programs, so the incentives are the same regardless of the type of business or home it is for.

Adam Bartini, Energy Trust program manager for industrial and agriculture, noted that the lighting industry is rapidly evolving. He said the fast-paced nature of the industry has caused Energy Trust’s list of lighting rebates to be broad and ever-changing.

Bartini said ag professionals looking to incorporate energy upgrades into their operations should review the directory on the Energy Trust website to learn about local vendors who can help with project cost estimates.

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