WALTHAM, MA — Tecogen, a manufacturer of natural gas-fueled commercial cooling and heat-recovery systems, announced recently that its Tecochill systems are one of the first natural gas-driven chillers eligible for valuable cash rebates under the California Energy Commission’s (CEC’s) “Innovative Peak Load Reduction” program.

Designed to help California save energy during peak load periods, the program boasts $39 million in funds from Senate Bill 5X, signed by Governor Davis in April of this year. The program will pay up to $250 per peak kW saved, plus a bonus for savings that can be delivered in time to help alleviate this summer’s anticipated peak shortage.

According to the company, one of its typical Tecochill units, with a 400-ton cooling capacity, could qualify for a rebate of as much as $40,000 to $70,000 under the new program. “We’re very excited about the regulatory precedent this program sets,” said Bob Panora, president of Tecogen, which is based here. “The state of California has recognized that our natural gas-powered chillers can supply air conditioning during the critical summer months with far more energy efficiency and at a substantially lower cost than conventional electric chillers.” Applications to the Innovative Peak Load Reduction Program — that includes any type of fuel-switching project — must demonstrate that no net increase in fossil fuel use will result. Tecogen said its systems already allow commercial and industrial customers to significantly reduce their energy costs by running on natural gas, which is readily available during the summer months when demand for heating is low, but demand for air conditioning is at its highest. And with the demand charges and time-of-day rates that are being charged by deregulated utilities, gas customers can cut their electricity bills by as much as 30% to 60%, according to Tecogen.

Publication date: 07/09/2001