SMUD Launches Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has announced the launch of a new pilot program that will provide incentives for direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction. The program will provide incentives for both energy savings and GHG emissions reduction.

The program is open to SMUD's commercial customers that install new natural refrigerant system or retrofit a system from a high-GWP refrigerant to a natural refrigerant. New systems can include distributed systems, transcritical and cascade, stand-alone systems or self-contained units. 

Incentive levels for GHG emissions reduction are calculated separately from energy savings. Energy savings are paid under SMUD's Custom Incentive program for both kW and kWh reduced. GHG emissions reductions are paid per metric ton of CO2-equivalent emissions reduction.

A bonus incentive is available for projects implemented by small businesses located in disadvantage communities. The bonus equates to 25% of the GHG emission reduction incentive.

The total combined incentive is capped at $250,000 or 50% of the project cost, whichever is less.

The GHG emission reduction calculation is based on the refrigerant GWP, charge size and annual leak rate. For retrofits, GHG reduction is calculated based on the difference between the existing and forecasted performance of the system. New systems will use a pre-defined baseline that assumes a default refrigerant, change and leak rate. The following equation will be applied:

Participants must also agree to allow SMUD access to collect energy consumption data for a minimum of a three-year period. Sub-metering equipment will be installed on refrigeration and electrical systems to monitor energy use.

According to SMUD, in addition to the energy savings and GHG emissions reduction, one of the primary purposes of the pilot is to conduct research that will contribute to the growing body of literature that supports refrigerant policy and practice.

For more information, please refer to hand-out below:

SMUD's Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program process 

SMUD's Natural Refrigerant Incentive Program process