Massachusetts 2019 Ductless Rebates

As of March 20, 2019, the MassCEC ductless rebates will no longer be available. Mike Cappuccio, owner of N.E.T.R., Inc., discusses the changes to the MassCEC rebate program and offers details on the Mass Save rebate program. Listen or read more to find out about MassCEC and Mass Save 2019 ductless rebates.

John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Cappuccio, owner of N.E.T.R., Inc., a heating and cooling company in Massachusetts, with a focus on Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling products. Today, we’re taking about the Massachusetts 2019 ductless rebates. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Cappuccio: Good afternoon, John. How are you?

John: Good. Thanks. Mike, there’s been some changes in 2019 to the rebates that are offered on ductless heating and cooling systems. Can you tell me a little bit about that and why the rebates have changed?

Mike: Okay, yes. John, as of January 1st, 2019, we saw a lot of emails flying around and that there were going to be changes on the rebates, and nothing was really certain until about, probably about two weeks ago. We finally got a standard, “Yes, this is what’s going to happen.” The things that we’re finding out now is that as of March 20th, 2019, that the MassCEC residential rebate program for mini-splits is going to go away. That’s a mistake.

Clean Air Energy Council that has been around for many, many years that has been giving rebates to the homeowners for the ductless mini-splits, and that is going to go away as of March 20th, 2019. Reason being is a lot of those rebates are now shifting over to the Mass Save side. What Mass Save did was . . . Mass Save got involved now in the rebates. They’ve given a little more money if you have any fuel in your home. Any fuel, I mean gas, oil, electric, anything like that that you have in your home.

If you’re eligible for a rebate for a three-zone system in your home, let’s say we put three indoor units in your home, for any fuel you’re going to get a $275 rebate for that. If you have electric heat in your home and you’re going to convert your home to mini-splits and use these as a source of heat or air conditioning, you get a $1,833 rebate on that particular product.

Now, here’s where everything changes. If you have oil or propane heat in your home and you would have put in a set of integrated controls that will integrate with your existing oil burner in your home, for that three-zone system you are now eligible for a $2,933 rebate for that particular system. Now, here’s the other side of this that is going to change, that’s going to go away March 20th, 2019, is there’s still money available from MassCEC for this rebate.

The standard rebate for the MassCEC is $1,042 for that three-zone system. What you’re doing here, now, is you’re double-dipping. You’re getting money from the MassCEC until March 20th. To put the integrated controls in with the oil or propane heat that you have already, you’re going to be eligible for about a $4,000 rebate when you’re done putting all this in.

Now, you’re probably sitting there and you’re saying, “Okay, what is an integrated control? What is that all about?” That’s a Mitsubishi kumo cloud integrated control that will allow your oil burner to turn on and off at a certain outdoor temperature.

The reasons for these big rebates is they want the oil to stop running above a certain temperature. When the temperatures are above, let’s say, 25 to 30 degrees, they want the Mitsubishi system to be running on the integrated controls. When it gets down below 25 degrees or 20 degrees, we’re going to have the oil burner come on and heat the house with the oil. Basically, the oil and the mini-splits are going to work together on outside temperature.

When you add these integrated controls, some of these rebates are pretty significant rebates. There is one rebate for Mitsubishi eight-zone HC60, which is a five-ton unit, for the integrated controls. With that machine, right now, there’s an $8,000 rebate to put that in if you have oil heat with integrated controls.

MassCEC, unfortunately, on that particular model, there is no rebate for MassCEC. The big rebates are coming. The way you’re going to obtain these big rebates is by using both the MassCEC until March 20th, and having an integrated control system if you have oil or propane heat.

Again, if you have electric heat in your home with no integrated controls, you don’t need to put integrated controls with the electricity. If you do, some of those rebates are up to $5,000, depending on the type of electric heat you have in your home at that point.

Cost Difference Between Integrated Controls and Traditional Heating Systems 

John: Okay. When you install the integrated controls, is that because at those lower temperatures the oil or whatever traditional system that you have for heating is actually more efficient than the ductless systems at those low temperatures?

Mike: Yes. What they’ve done, John, is basically Mass Save has come up with a way to calculate the dollar savings now to say, “Hey, this is when it’s more efficient to run a mini-split unit than your oil heat.” It’s all based on the outside temperatures, because when the temperature gets colder outside, the mini-split wants to run faster and harder to produce more heat, and that’s when it gets a little more costly to run that machine.

They’re saying, “Okay, if we can switch this over by the outdoor temperature, it’s really going to be more efficient, and we want to offer these rebates to get these people away from these oil fuels and things like this that are — they’re also having some damage on the environment as well,” so they’re looking at it from both sides.

Mass Save and MassCEC: Rebate Qualifications 

John: Okay. You mentioned that there’s these two organizations that are offering the rebates. There’s Mass Save and there’s MassCEC. Can you tell me a little bit more about each of those and what the difference is?

Mike: MassCEC was a group that was formed basically revolving around the Clean Energy Council was what was happening there. They’re environmentally-safe type people. They’re really looking at the environment and saying, “Hey, this is why we want to offer these rebates and be able to put these things towards the rebates.”

The Mass Save is more of when you’re paying your electric bills or your gas bills, and stuff like that, you’re going to see there is a charge that you’re being charged for alternative energy. That’s where that money comes from to Mass Save. That’s being switched over now a little bit. MassCEC used to get a little bit of that but now that’s kind of switching over to the Mass Save. That’s going to revolve on that side of the rebates now.

John: Yes. Tell me a little bit more about those Mass Save rebates and how you qualify for those rebates.

Mike: Okay. First off, with Mass Save, you have to be buying your electricity from a National Grid, Eversource, one of those. If you live in a municipal area like Lexington, Danvers, Peabody, places like that, you buy your electricity from a municipal company. We call those the ‘munis’. You cannot fall into this program if you buy your electricity from a municipal-type electric company, so you’d have to be one of those other users.

John: Okay. Any other things that you have to have or can’t have in order to qualify?

Mike: No. That pretty much falls into that range right there.

John: Okay. How much are those rebates, again, for the Mass Save?

Mike: For the Mass Save, for a single-zone unit, for that would be a one indoor unit to one-indoor one-outdoor, that could be anywhere from $280 without any integrated controls to as high as $3,000 with integrated controls.

John: Okay.

Mike: When we get into the multi-zones, now, where we’re putting multiple indoor units inside your house, that could be anywhere from $525 to $8,000, depending on what type of system we’d be installing in your home. That’s, like I said, again, that’s just from Mass Save right now.

Cut-Off Dates for MassCEC Rebates 2019 

John: Right. Tell me more about the MassCEC rebates and how you qualify for those, and how much those rebates are.

Mike: Okay, so the MassCEC, like I said, that’s going to stop on March 20th. After March 20th, this program is ending. That means you have to have your system installed by March 20th and paid for by March 20th. We have to perform your paperwork application in the computer, at our office, before March 20. That’s definitely cutting off at that point. Those dollar amounts ranged anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on the system that you are purchasing.

John: Now, if you have to have that system installed and paid for by March 20th, what do you think that the cut-off date is in terms of getting in touch with N.E.T.R. and purchasing the system, and having you guys be able to schedule that and come out and install that?

Mike: Realistically, that’s going to be about March 15th. It doesn’t give you a lot of time. It gives you about 30 days to act on these rebates as far as getting the additional money from the MassCEC.

Now, here’s the other thing that I’ve been trying to get across to people and been telling a lot of people. We’ve been sending out a lot of email and a lot of social media stuff, too. It’s like, “If you were seriously considering installing a ductless system into your home this summer for air conditioning, these MassCEC rebates are going to go away.” You’re just going to end up with a Mass Save rebate at that point.

If you were looking at putting a five-zone-unit or a four-zone-unit in your house, right now, that’s anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the system you’re going to put into your home, that you are no longer going to have access to that money. That’s free money right now.

Like I said, after March 20th, that’s going away. If you’re a gas homeowner and you’re looking at putting mini-splits into your home, you’re going to lose this money after March 20th.

Now is the Time to Install a Ductless HVAC System 

John: The basic idea here is, if you’re thinking of installing a ductless system in your home this year, in 2019, now is the time to do it because, otherwise, it’s just going to cost you more if you wait until this summer or later on this fall, or something like that?

Mike: Yes. If you have oil heat in your home and you’re seriously considering installing a mini-split in your home, those multi-zone units, you’re looking at a minimum of $4,000 in rebates up to March 20th. Like I said, those are all going to go away. It depends on which system you’re going to put in your home and what you’re going to do.

I keep telling people that once the MassCEC is gone, it’s gone — you’re not going to be able to get your hands on this money anymore, so why not take the money. If you’re seriously considering doing this, now is the time to do this. The next 30 days, this is very, very important on what’s going to happen with these rebates, because after this it’s going back to Mass Save. If you have gas heat in your house and you just want to put in a four-zone unit, you’re looking at a $525 rebate; today, you’re looking at a $2,500 rebate.

John: There’s a huge difference there.

Mike: Yes. That’s what I keep telling people, “If you’re serious about doing this, you want to give us a call right now.” If we’ve been out there to give you a quote or anything and you’re rethinking this, I hate to tell you, after March 20th, that money is gone, because every quote that we’ve quoted in the past two years has the CEC rebates in them. Now, they’re just not going to be there and it’s going to cost you more money to do this.

John: All right. That’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: All right, John. Thank you.

John: For more information, you can visit the N.E.T.R. website at www.netrinc.com, or call 781-933-NETR. That’s 781-933-6387.

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