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Millions of dollars are available to electrify NH homes. Officials want input on how to get the money out the door.

Dan Tuohy

New Hampshire is set to receive almost $70 million to lower the cost of home energy-related upgrades, and state officials are asking residents to weigh in on the design of programs to distribute that money.

The federal Inflation Reduction Act created residential rebate programs, where residents could soon get a discount on projects to make homes more energy efficient, and on appliances like heat pumps, electric stoves, clothes dryers, and hot water heaters.

Rebate amounts are determined by household income and, in some cases, how much energy savings a project will provide.

The Home Efficiency Rebates Program is expected to cover up to 80% of the cost of energy efficiency improvements for lower and moderate income residents, and up to 50% of project costs for other single family homes. Multi-family buildings are also eligible for rebates.

Through the Home Electrification and Appliance Rebate Program, a rebate for an electric stove could total $840, while savings on a heat pump are expected to be up to $8,000. Combined, households can get rebates for appliances, electric upgrades, installation and some other work up to $14,000.

The state’s Department of Energy says on its website that it’s in the process of hiring new staff to apply for the state’s allocation of funding from the federal government and to oversee the program based on guidance from the federal government.

The agency is asking homeowners, retailers and contractors for their input on how the state should design the programs. Officials are specifically looking forcomments on how to make the rebates simple to access, how they can target benefits towards underserved communities, and how they can coordinate with contractors who can complete the upgrades.

The goals of the program, according to the federal government, include speeding up the transition homes that emit less climate-warming carbon, lowering energy costs for lower-income households, and spark interest and expertise in energy efficient and electric upgrades for suppliers and consumers.

As of 2021, residential households make up about 15% of New Hampshire’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Written comments are due by noon on March 13th. More information about the programs and the comment period is available on the department’s website.

Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR.