California Center for Sustainable Energy | Pacific Gas & Electric Company | Southern California Edison
California Solar Initiative (CSI) Newsletter - November 2008

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Have you ever wondered what a megawatt of solar looks like? This month’s feature photo, left, comes to us from Limoneira’s new one-megawatt “solar orchard” in Santa Paula, CA. The 6,400 panel system is expected to produce enough clean energy to offset the annual CO2 impact of 200 single-family homes. Read on for important updates from the California Solar Initiative, and a chance to submit photos of your CSI-funded solar system.

In This Issue

Upcoming Workshops and Trainings by Program Territory

Free Statewide Workshops by the California Solar Initiative
CSI Program Administrators sponsor free, ongoing workshops for solar customers and installers on a variety of topics.

PG&E's Workshops

Solar Financial Analysis
CSI Workshop
Advice Letter Webinar
Power Purchase Agreement Webinar
Solar Power Basics – Live and Online


SCE's Workshops

Introduction to CSI for Installers
Homeowner Solar Information Session
Homeowner Solar Information Session
Introduction to CSI for Installers
Introduction to CSI for Installers

CCSE's Workshops

Solar for Homeowners
CSI Application Process
Solar Shade
Understanding Electric Rates and Time-of-Use

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CPUC Establishes Incentive Program for Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing

The California Public Utilities Commission issued Decision (D.)08-10-036 establishing solar rebates for qualifying affordable housing developments, as defined by state law, under a new $108 million solar incentive program for Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH), part of the California Solar Initiative.

MASH incentive levels will depend on whether the solar installation provides power to common areas of the affordable housing complex or directly to tenant units, with incentive levels of $3.30 per Watt for systems offsetting common area load, and $4 per Watt for systems offsetting tenant load.

The program will be administered by the existing CSI Program Administrators: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison and the California Center for Sustainable Energy.

>> click here for more information.

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Energy Commission Considers SB1 Guidelines

The California Energy Commission is considering adopting Guidelines for California's Solar Electric Incentive Programs (Senate Bill 1), Second Edition, which would establish eligibility criteria, conditions for incentives, and equipment rating standards for all ratepayer-funded solar electric programs in California. The California Energy Commission will take this up as part of its Dec. 3, 2008, business meeting.

>> click here to view the Guidelines document on the California Energy Commission Web site.

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Fourth Annual Commercial Solar Tour a Shining Success

More than 350 people attended the Commercial Solar Tour held last month in San Diego. This year's Tour was held in conjunction with Solar Power International 2008.

Organized for the fourth year running by CCSE, the tour consisted of four sites located throughout San Diego: (1) the solar "trees" planted on the Gilman Parking Structure at UC San Diego; (2) the Alvarado Water Treatment Facility’s 1 megawatt (MW) system built on top of four water reservoirs; (3) the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Training Facility; and, (4) the New Children’s Museum, one of the greenest buildings in San Diego.

Representatives from each site described the installations while attendees explored and photographed the systems.

>> click here to view photos of the Fourth Annual Commercial Solar Tour.

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Sun Shines Brightly on CCSE's Ninth Annual San Diego Solar Homes Tour

Forty-two solar homes representing the work of more than 20 solar contractors drew the interest of at least 1500 people who attended CCSE's Ninth Annual San Diego Solar Homes Tour on Oct. 18.

The self-guided tour gave prospective customers a rare opportunity to see fully functioning systems—solar PV, water heating and pool heating—and to talk with system owners and installers.

Plans are already underway to include even more San Diego solar homes in next year’s Solar Homes Tour.

>> click here to view photos and more information about the Ninth Annual San Diego Solar Homes Tour.

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SCE Expands Reach of Solar Training with Homeowner Sessions

More SCE customers are learning about solar energy and the CSI program each month with the recent introduction of SCE’s Homeowner Solar Information Sessions.

About 300 homeowners have already attended one of the five sessions held throughout the utility’s service territory, with two more set before the end of the year.

These 90-minute, non-technical, easy-to-understand homeowner information sessions are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. so customers can attend after work.

"We’re thrilled that despite these difficult economic times, so many people want to learn about how to ‘go solar,’” said SCE’s Javier Burgos. “Based on the high level of interest and satisfaction of attendees to date, in 2009 we plan to reach even further into our 50,000-square-mile service territory with the very timely messages of energy efficiency and renewable solar energy.”

The two remaining 2008 sessions are scheduled for Santa Monica on Nov. 20 and Tulare on Dec. 1, and as many as 40 more are planned for 2009. The first five sessions were held in Irvine, Irwindale (2), Cathedral City and Santa Barbara.

>> click here for more information and to sign up for these sessions.

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Limoneira Farms Energy from the Sun

Something new is growing amid the citrus and avocados in Santa Paula, Calif. It’s electricity, courtesy of solar panels designed to produce enough power annually for almost 200 average American homes.

Santa Paula-based Limoneira, one of the state’s largest agribusinesses, recently dedicated its 5.5-acre “solar orchard.” With 6,400 photovoltaic (PV) panels, the 1 megawatt system is expected to generate 1,950 megawatt-hours annually.

“By farming the sun, we’re going to vastly reduce our energy costs,” said Limoneira President and CEO Harold Edwards. More importantly, though, Edwards explained, “We found yet another way to demonstrate that there’s no conflict between sound business decisions and being an environmentally conscious, sustainable enterprise.”

The solar orchard took four months to construct and meets strict Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Limoneira expects the project will offset the annual CO2 impact of 200 single-family homes. Founded in 1893 and long a key player in California’s storied agriculture industry, Limoneira today grows lemons, avocados, oranges, fruits and nuts on 7,000 acres.

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Trigger Tracker Snapshot for November 19, 2008

California Solar Initiative
November 19, 2008
Customer Class
Current Step
  Revised Total MW in Steps
MW Remaining
MW Under Review

The California Solar Initiative Trigger Tracker provides an indicator of when the CSI incentive levels are expected to drop by showing the reservation and review status of all incentive classes. This snapshot compares the megawatts remaining in each step with the megawatts under review, so that users can estimate how close the incentives are to declining. When there are more megawatts under review than remaining in the step, then it may be probable that any new applications will be at the next (i.e. LOWER) incentive step level.

>> click here
to view today’s Statewide Trigger Tracker.

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PG&E Passes 10,000th Reservation Milestone

PG&E recently celebrated completion of its 10,000th CSI reservation, a significant milestone considering it took place in just the second year of a 10-year program.

While this speaks volumes about the level of solar interest in the state and momentum generated via the CSI program, PG&E is also celebrating recent process improvements which have resulted in faster reservation processing times.

Kristi Patterson, CSI supervisor at PG&E, stated that the team is “continually working to identify areas upon which to improve that positively impact our customers’ experience with the CSI program; we're confident that the high number of reservations we're seeing in PG&E's service territory reflect our ongoing efforts to streamline operations.”

While 10,000 applications have been submitted and funds reserved, more than 6,000 of these have resulted in completed solar installations.

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PG&E Revamps Curriculum for Monthly CSI Workshops, Expands Reach

Thanks to ongoing interest in PG&E's CSI Workshops and the regular customer requests to see expanded subject matter, PG&E's CSI team has launched a “new and improved” workshop intended for installers, service providers and anyone interested in “going solar.”

The recently debuted pilot met with positive attendee feedback, especially the new level of detail and integration of energy efficiency and ClimateSmart, a PG&E program that allows a customer to easily offset the carbon emissions associated with their energy use.

Other newly integrated content includes information on other solar electric technologies and CSI's Low Income and New Solar Homes Partnership programs. In addition to revamping the curriculum, PG&E is bringing the CSI Workshop to all areas of its service territory—from San Francisco to San Jose and from Oakland to Bakersfield.

>> click here for information on this particular workshop and all of PG&E's solar classes.

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Weekend Walk-Thru Program a Success

Four New Solar Homes Partnership communities that exhibited the highest levels of energy efficiency in the Sacramento area were featured in the Weekend Walk Thru promotion throughout October. The communities—Caspian Run by Standard Pacific, Woodbury Glen by Standard Pacific, Wisteria by Christopherson Homes and Blackstone by Lennar —were each featured for one week in radio and Internet mentions that included on-air consumer reviews.

>> click here for a complete listing of NSHP communities.

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New Solar Homes Partnership Hits California Radio Airwaves

Throughout October, a 30-minute program showcasing new energy-efficient solar homes and the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) aired on 11 radio stations in California.

The community service program featured California Energy Commission Deputy Director Claudia Chandler, who discussed how the demand for energy efficiency and solar led to the development of the NSHP.

>> click here to listen to the radio interview. Scroll down to "Interviews - Radio Interview" and click on “Clear Channel Radio Interview with Claudia Chandler.”

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Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Residential Solar Systems

Calling all installers! This is a great opportunity to showcase your CSI-funded residential solar projects. The California Solar Initiative Program seeks photos of CSI-funded solar systems for use in future newsletters or other CSI-related publicity. Photos can include completed residential solar PV systems, shots of installations in progress, or solar water heating installations.

Please provide the following when submitting your solar PV system, solar water heating system, or installation photos:

  • Name of photographer
  • Name of installer, seller and/or system owner
  • System size and location
  • Date project was installed
  • Full permission to use photo in CSI-related publicity

>> click here to submit your CSI-funded solar system photos.

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CCSE | PG&E | SCE | ©2008 California Solar Initiative


California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, California 94102

The CSI program is funded by California investor-owned utility customers and administered by Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and the California Center for Sustainable Energy under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Your privacy is important to us. The California Solar Initiative Program Administrators will not disclose your personal information to any third party.This email was sent to: reardon.amy@gmail.com. You are receiving this newsletter pursuant to D.07.05.047 because you are a participant in the California Solar Initiative (CSI).