COOLING-AS-A-SERVICE AS A SUSTAINABLE REFRIGERATION SYSTEM IN SOUTH AFRICA
In March 2020, Sphere Solutions, a major South African manufacturer of transcritical CO2 systems, and its partners met with five commercial banks in South Africa to discuss cooling-as-a-service (CaaS) for implementing related innovative refrigeration systems in South Africa.
Sphere has been collaborating for almost a year on bringing the CaaS model to South Africa with South Africa-based GFA Climate & Infrastructure and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE), a Swiss non-profit spearheading the global Cooling as a Service Initiative at www.caas-initiative.org.
Sphere, GFA Climate & Infrastructure and BASE presented the funding structure for CaaS and approached a South African retailer about converting stores to transcritical CO2. Marcel Steinberg, CEO of Sphere, stated that Sphere, over the last decade, has been rolling out CO2 refrigeration as a sustainable alternative to HFC (HydroFluoroCarbons) refrigerants and their damaging effects on the environment.
The CaaS pay-as-you-go financing mechanism is designed to lower market barriers to the adoption of energy-efficient cooling products. With its increasing demand for cooling and rising electricity costs, South Africa is considered a particularly good candidate for the implementation of CaaS. This has been accentuated by the impact of the COVID-19-induced business lockdown.
Johnathan First, Managing Director of GFA Climate & Infrastructure highlighted that CaaS catalyzes global thinking in a local context with definite climate mitigation outcomes. He noted that CaaS has been endorsed by Global Climate Lab, a prominent global climate finance innovation association.
To implement the CaaS model, Sphere has developed a number of business tools, including pricing packages, a CaaS contract aligned with local regulations, and modifications in Sphere’s daily operations to manage CaaS. Under CaaS, maintenance teams are optimally situated to guarantee on-site presence within two hours of fault detection. The model does not require end-user staff for the monitoring or maintenance of any cooling equipment.
Thomas Motmans, Sustainable Energy Finance Specialist at BASE, emphasized that innovative companies such as Sphere and GFA are leading the path towards sustainability, green development and the circular economy.