The U.S. state of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has launched an incentive program aiming to encourage installation of refrigeration systems less harmful to the environment, with a provision that favors natural refrigerants.
Named the “Cool Switch – Low Impact Refrigerant Program,” the initiative was launched on March 2, and all non-residential Delaware consumers using at least 50lbs (22.7kg) of refrigerant are eligible, including municipalities, businesses and industries.
Installed refrigerants must have a GWP less than 1,500 to qualify, and natural refrigerants qualify for a higher rate of payout in new systems than synthetics.
According to the Delaware.gov website, incentives will be based on avoided tons of CO2e emissions. The calculations will be based on years of remaining system operation, system charge, GWP of existing refrigerant and GWP of replacement/new refrigerant.
The incentives will be paid at a rate of US$25 per ton of avoided CO2e. The limit for retrofit systems is either 50% of total project cost or US$250,000, whichever is lower.
For new systems the incentive limit depends on whether the refrigerant is synthetic or natural. For natural refrigerants the limit is the same as for retrofits. For synthetic refrigerants, the limit is either 25% of total project cost, or US$250,000, whichever is lower.
The incentive program will be financed through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based program with 11 participating states aiming to reduce GHG emissions. Grants will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, subject to funding availability.
Delaware is not the first U.S. state to adopt such an incentive program. In June 2019, California allocated US$1 million in its 2019-2020 budget to create an incentive program for adopting climate-friendly refrigerant technologies.
Delaware is one of 15 U.S. states, all in the U.S. Climate Alliance, that have regulated, or plan to regulate HFCs. In June 2019, the Delaware General Assembly adopted a resolution to “propose regulations for the use and manufacturing of Hydrofluorocarbons by March 30, 2020.”
Find more information about the program here.