The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), a nonprofit focused on advancing natural refrigerant adoption by food retailers, plans to launch a program this summer in California designed to help retailers access funding for natural refrigerant installations.
Under the initiative – called the Aggregated Incentives Program(AIP) – NASRC will serve as a coordinator linking qualified retailers with a variety of funding and incentive sources, including the state of California, utilities, low-interest loans, pilot projects and grants. NASRC hopes to expand the program nationally.
“High upfront cost is the primary hurdle preventing the adoption of low-GWP technologies” said Danielle Wright, executive director of the NASRC, in a statement. “Funding support to offset upfront costs is key to bridging the gap and stimulating the economies of scale necessary to bring costs down.”
NASRC plans to align the AIP with the launch of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) F-gas Reduction Incentive Program (FRIP), expected to open for solicitations this summer. Given the unprecedented pressures retailers are facing to provide essential resources to their communities throughout the COVID-19 situation, the launch date may be adjusted accordingly, said NASRC.
“Few retailers have the bandwidth to think about scoping new projects with everything going on right now,” said Wright. “But we want them to know we are preparing for the future and will ensure that the program provides retailers with as much support as possible when the timing is right.”
FRIP was established under the California Cooling Act (SB 1013), which allocated $1 million through the 2019-2020 California State budget process. FRIP will support the transition to low (under 10)-GWP refrigerant systems used to comply with CARB’s HFC reduction measures, which are proposed to go into effect on Jan 1, 2022. CARB staff is seeking input from stakeholders to develop the guidelines for FRIP.
Both new construction and existing facilities will be eligible for funding under AIP. Funds will be awarded based on reduction in direct greenhouse gas emissions from the refrigerant and other factors, such as energy efficiency or water savings. Retailers and their partners can submit a single application to NASRC, which will then coordinate funding eligibility across multiple funding partners.
“Our goal is to maximize funding per project while simplifying the experience for the retailer,” said Wright. “We also expect the pilot to generate a tremendous amount of data that will benefit the industry.”
The initial pilot program, offered at no-cost to applicants, is sponsored by Bitzer US, Climate Pros, CoolSys and Hillphoenix.
Another goal of the pilot is to increase the number of funders and the amount of funding allocated to support low-GWP technology installations.
“The best way to ensure continued and expanded state funding is to demonstrate demand,” said Wright. “We are encouraging retailers and their partners to submit applications not only for projects planned in the next year, but for the next 5-10 years.”
For more information on AIP, contact NASRC at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on FRIP, contact Aanchal Kohli at Aanchal.Kohli@arb.ca.gov.
Funding support to offset upfront costs is key to bridging the gap and stimulating the economies of scale necessary to bring costs down.Danielle Wright, NASRC