California Solar Initiative Newsletter April 2009                 

CSI Toolbox


CSI Handbook

CSI Handbook


Useful Links

California Center for Sustainable Energy

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Southern California Edison

California Public Utilities Commission 

Go Solar, California! Web site

CSI Program Handbook

The next CSI Program Forum will be held Tuesday, April 28, at PG&E’s 245 Market Street Auditorium in San Francisco.
This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The CSI Program Forum will be available via Webinar: Meeting Phone Number: 866-234-4460
Meeting Number: 4159730770

To join the online meeting
1. Go to http://pge.conferencing.com
2. Click on "participant login"
3. Enter the Meeting Number
4. Click "Join Meeting as Participant"

To join the teleconference only
Call 866-393-8073
When prompted enter the Meeting Number, *4159730770

csi-nl-box-septGreetings ,

The CPUC has issued the latest CSI Staff Progress Report, which shows a dramatic spike in actual solar installations in the first quarter of 2009. California now boasts more than one-half gigawatt (500 MW) of solar power! This month’s featured photo comes from the Porsche Cars North America Logistics facility in Ontario, Calif., whose 372-module, 80-kW tracking array installed by HelioPower is expected to produce 135,000 kWh/year. Read on for more updates from the CSI Program Administrators—plus a chance to submit photos of YOUR 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


SCE's Workshops

CCSE's Workshops

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CPUC Issues CSI Quarterly Staff Progress Report

The California Public Utilities Commission has issued the April 2009 CSI Staff Progress Report, which shows that customers within California’s investor-owned utility (IOU) territories have installed 211 MW of new distributed, grid-tied solar photovoltaic projects at more than 15,000 sites since 2007. The Staff Report estimates the CSI Program has another 5,040 applications still pending, which, if installed, will result in an additional 145 MW of new PV. Combining projects installed under the CSI Program with installations completed under prior solar programs brings the total installed PV capacity to more than 500 MW—one-half gigawatt--in California. Other highlights of the Progress Report include:

  • CSI participants installed a record number of solar megawatts in the first quarter of 2009 - more than 78 megawatts of photovoltaics at more than 3,600 sites.
  • Measured in terms of megawatts, new CSI applications spiked in February 2009, leading to a total of more than 52 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic applications for the first quarter of 2009.
  • In the first quarter of 2009 the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing program was launched. The Single Family Affordable Housing Program is now accepting applications, with the first installations scheduled to begin in Northern California at the end of April.

The CSI Staff Progress Report is available on the Go Solar, California! Web site.

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Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program Administrator Finalizes CSI Program Handbook; Accepting Applications and Scheduling Solar Installations

The SASH Program is now a part of the CSI Program Handbook, and the Program Administrator, Grid Alternatives, is now accepting program applications and scheduling solar installations for eligible low-income homeowners. The SASH Program is uniquely designed to incorporate solar panel installation with job training programs intended to help foster a sustainable solar industry in California. The solar systems will be installed with the help of volunteers, job trainees and the families themselves. One hundred percent of SASH Program funding is intended to reach low-income homeowners, who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the CSI Program Handbook. Please contact GRID Alternatives with questions, including eligibility information, toll-free at (866) 921-4696, by email at SASH@gridalternatives.org, or visit their Web site at www.gridalternatives.org.

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SolarTech-CalSEIA Solar Summit: Accelerating the Solar Economy

SolarTech and CalSEIA—in partnership with PG&E, SCE and other industry sponsors—are holding the first-ever Solar Summit, entitled “Accelerating the Solar Economy,” on May 6-7, 2009 in San Jose.

Collaboration is the focus of the summit, with participants defining actions that will lead to reduced system costs and cycle times for residential and commercial solar installations in an effort to accelerate the adoption of solar and stimulate market growth. Guests will be encouraged to join industry leaders to discuss and shape future standards and foster business opportunities.

Location, agenda and registration information can be found at www.calsolarsummit.org.

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Santa Monica Continues to Lead the Way for Community Solar Development

Olympic Studios in Santa Monica, Calif.

The City of Santa Monica recently welcomed its most recent solar addition—a 30-kW roof-mounted system atop the 100-unit Olympic Studios, the city’s newest affordable housing complex.

Funded through the CSI’s New Solar Homes Partnership (prior to the existence of the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing program), Olympic Studios’ new solar system is expected to generate 48,860 kWh of power per year, meeting about half the building’s common load, while reducing emissions by 958 tons of CO2 over 25 years–the equivalent of 3.1 million miles not driven or 16.4 acres of trees planted.

Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser helped dedicate the installation, which was part of Solar Santa Monica, a city-sponsored demonstration program that encourages people in Santa Monica to save energy through energy efficiency and helps them produce their own electricity by installing solar generating systems.

Solar Santa Monica’s goal is to help the city be energy self-sustaining by 2020. As of March 9, 2009, 926 kW of solar generating 4,059 kWh of power every day have been installed at 165 sites in Santa Monica.

Thanks to local leaders throughout the state, more California cities are developing ways to help residents and businesses “Go Solar,” such as streamlining permitting processes and providing property tax finance options.

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PG&E Expands Solar Workshop and Online Training Portfolio

PG&E recently launched an online “webinar” series that responds to customer feedback and expands on its current offerings.

These online classes provide a convenient and accessible way to learn about the latest solar industry happenings, CSI program updates and tips and resources on topics including, “Solar as an Integrated Solution,” “Understanding CSI Statistics,” “Solar for the Entrepreneur,” “CSI and Non-PV” and “Understanding the CSI Application Process.”

In addition to the online series, PG&E continues to offer its core portfolio of classes as well as forums to particular customer segments.

Next month, PG&E will offer a “Low Income Solar and Energy Efficiency Forum,” covering the latest updates on the MASH program and its incentives, as well as other low-income services that make it easy to become energy efficient and invest in solar.

Information on all of PG&E’s classes and webinars is at www.pge.com/solarclasses. There is no cost to attend any of PG&E’s classes.

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Sun Powering Two Southern California Water Districts

Two water districts in Southern California are walking the environmental talk, with the recent installation and dedication of nearly 2 MW of solar power.

The Valley Center Municipal Water District (VCMWD), located in north-central San Diego County, installed a 939-kW solar system that is expected to generate 2.5 million kWh and save the district $1.5 million annually.

VCMWD’s system comprises a total of 6,336 panels that rest on 120-foot-long columns across eight acres on a single-axis tracking system. Valley Center’s hilly terrain makes delivering water costly for the district, which spends between $5 million and $6 million each year to power the more than 100 pumps that deliver about 90 percent of the district’s water over 10 different elevations, including a peak of 2,400 feet.

Further north, the Rancho California Water District (RCWD)—which serves an area consisting of Temecula/Rancho California, parts of Murrieta and other divisions—installed a 985-kW (CEC-AC rating) solar system that is expected to produce 1.7 million kWh annually and save the district up to $6.8 million over the next 20 years.

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Photo courtesy of Rancho California Water District in Murrieta, Calif. Valley Center Municipal Water District in Valley Center, Calif. Photo courtesy of CCSE.

RCWD’s system, located at the district’s water treatment facility in Murrieta, comprises a total of 5,379 panels on a tracking system that will reduce more than 2.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to removing more than 200 cars from the road.

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Trigger Tracker Snapshot for April 28, 2009

California Solar Initiative
April 28, 2009
Customer Class
Current Step
  Revised Total MW in Steps
MW Remaining
MW Under Review

The California Solar Initiative Trigger Tracker provides an indication 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, it is 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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Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems

Calling all installers! This is a great opportunity to showcase your CSI-funded 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


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.

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