As Maryland’s state energy office, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) will eventually be the applicant for two of the residential-focused IRA rebate programs - the HOMES Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program and the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program - for Maryland, once the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) makes the funding available to state energy offices like MEA. Please note that the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program will only be available to participants that meet the income-qualifications of the program.
As of March 2023, DOE has not yet started accepting applications from state energy offices for either residentially-focused rebate program. Funding for the HOMES Rebate and the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate IRA Programs is therefore not yet available.
Overview of the anticipated process by which rebates will be made available via the residential-focused IRA rebate programs
DOE recently sought public input on the development of these programs via a Request for Information (RFI). The RFI was issued by DOE in January 2023, and responses were due to DOE by March 3, 2023.
DOE will next release a funding opportunity announcement for each program, which is anticipated to be informed by the public input received through the RFI process. Each funding opportunity announcement will outline eligibility, requirements, and restrictions that state energy offices need to comply with when developing their respective state’s application for each program. DOE has indicated that guidance is expected to be issued to states during Summer 2023.
State energy offices, including the Maryland Energy Administration on behalf of the State of Maryland, will then need to develop and submit detailed applications to DOE that propose how each individual state will meet DOE’s requirements and implement their state’s HOMES Rebate and the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate programs.
Once DOE is satisfied with a state’s proposed implementation process for the residential rebate programs, DOE will enter into a funding agreement with each state energy office.
Upon DOE entering into a funding agreement with the Maryland Energy Administration, MEA can seek state-level spending authority for the federal funding and begin sourcing any resources that may be needed to help implement new programs of this scale.
MEA can then issue funding announcements outlining program eligibility requirements and submission instructions for the Maryland-specific HOMES rebate programs.
IRA Timing for the residential-home rebate programs: While MEA does not have exact timelines for this program, the DOE webpage for the home rebate programs indicates that “Later in 2023, DOE will make funds available to State Energy Offices”. Based on DOE’s timing to make the IRA funding available to the states and the process outlined above that will be needed to launch these new programs, it is anticipated that these rebates may not be available for residents until the end of calendar year 2023, and possibly early 2024. MEA is aware of the interest in these programs, and is looking for opportunities to get the rebate programs available to the public as soon as possible.
If you are interested in getting updates on these new federal programs from MEA, as well as other MEA energy programs, please follow MEA on social media at Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn. If you are interested in receiving notices from DOE on updates to the home rebate programs, you can also sign up on the DOE webpage for the home rebate programs under “Email Updates”.
For Maryland residents with upcoming, time-sensitive energy projects: As MEA has not yet received detailed specifics from the DOE on how the IRA energy programs will be structured, MEA does not have visibility into the eligibility criteria that will ultimately be established by DOE for participation in the new programs. DOE program guidance will include requirements (e.g., energy requirements, income qualifications, etc.) that will impact program eligibility. Therefore, any project completed prior to DOE issuing programmatic guidance and MEA, in turn, publishing a funding opportunity announcement detailing the IRA-funded program requirements runs a risk of potentially being ineligible for IRA-funding.
Additionally, DOE addresses the subject of whether or not rebates will be available retroactively on its frequently asked questions webpage for the residential IRA programs. Question #11 from this webpage states “Given that states must establish programs that ensure compliance with the law (e.g., eligibility of household, technology, program reporting), it will be difficult to offer rebates for projects completed before program requirements are fully defined and programs are in place.”
Additional Information from DOE: