California Solar Initiative Newsletter May 2009                 

CSI Toolbox


CSI Handbook

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


Greetings ,

The second annual Go Solar, California! Sweepstakes are under way. This year, the grand prize winner will receive a complete "green home makeover," including a rooftop solar installation, a suite of ENERGY STAR® appliances, green designer services and more green prizes. Monthly prizes include portable solar chargers and other eco-friendly products. Take the quiz and enter today!


  • Next California Solar Initiative Public Forum is scheduled for July 28, 2009, hosted by the California Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego.

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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New CSI Program Handbook Incorporates SB1 Requirements, MASH and SASH Programs

The CPUC Energy Division has released the May 2009 edition of the CSI Program Handbook, which incorporates three sets of program updates. The new CSI Program Handbook conforms to the requirements included in the California Energy Commission (CEC) Guidelines for California’s Solar Electric Incentive Programs Pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 1 , Second Edition (CEC) Guidelines. In addition to the updates to conform to CEC Guidelines, this edition of the CSI Program Handbook also incorporates the program requirements for Single-Family Affordable Housing Program (SASH), as well as additional aspects of the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH) program.

The new updated CSI Program Handbook became effective on May 22, 2009 and is available at www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov

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SCE Nearing Step 4 for Residential CSI Customers

Solar rebates for SCE’s residential customers are nearing a decrease to Step 4 levels, as more homeowners “go solar” and take advantage of available incentives.

CSI Program Administrators (PA) at SCE estimate that if residential CSI applications continue at the current pace of 80 to 90 per week, the program will reach the Step 4 residential incentive level ($1.90 per Watt/EPBB; $0.26 per kWh/PBI) by mid-June.

PAs remind customers and solar contractors that the incentive rate is not determined until a project receives a Confirmed Reservation.

>> click here to view current incentive levels across customer classes for each CSI Program Territory on the State Incentive Trigger Tracker Web site.
>> click here to view more statistics on solar demand in California on the California Solar Statistics Web site.

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Trigger Tracker Snapshot for May 29, 2009

California Solar Initiative
May 29, 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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New PV Equipment Eligibility Requirements Take Effect July 1, 2009

The California Energy Commission will be posting a new list of Eligible California Solar Initiative (CSI) Photovoltaic Modules on July 1, 2009. The Energy Commission establishes rating standards for equipment, components, and systems to assure reasonable performance in accordance with SB 1, and the three main components subject to standards and ratings specific to PV installations are the modules, inverters, and meters. Until the equipment is tested and listed by the Energy Commission, applications specifying the equipment are not eligible for incentive payment. PV and other solar products meeting the CSI program’s eligibility criteria may be placed on the lists of eligible equipment. Please visit the Go Solar, California! web site to learn how. For your reference, the Energy Commission's current eligible module list can be found here.

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Attention Solar Contractors: New Database of Solar Contractors and Service Providers Goes Live; Reregister Today

The California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Program Administrators have announced that the newly designed database of Solar Contractors and Service Providers is now available on the official Go Solar, California! Web site.

The list, which contains more than 1,500 solar companies, features expanded descriptions of the companies and enhanced search functions to help potential customers find a solar contractor.

Users can now search for solar companies by county, check contractor licenses with links to the Contractors State License Board, check resale licenses with links to the Board of Equalization, and check applications/systems that solar contractors have completed under the CSI Program via links to contractor-specific information on California Solar Statistics.

The online solar services database is designed for further expansion and includes companies that install or supply solar water heating systems, small wind systems, fuel cells and ground source/geothermal heat pump systems.

Solar contractors and service providers that have previously registered with the Energy Commission should have received an e-mail or a letter providing a log-on and password. Those that have not should contact the Energy Commission's Renewables Office at renewable@energy.state.ca.us.

New companies wishing to be added will need to fill out the California Energy Commission Form NSHP-4, available online at www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/documents/nshp.html

Once the Energy Commission receives the completed form, the company will be contacted by e-mail and provided log-on information and a password to complete the company information.

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Gov. Schwarzenegger Attends Solar Summit; Industry Identifies Top Initiatives to Accelerate Solar Economy

“Renewable energy is key for California’s energy future,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told solar industry leaders during the 2009 Inaugural Solar Summit, held May 6-7 in San Jose. “California leads the nation in solar and renewable energy and is harnessing the power of the sun to run our factories, homes and businesses and boost our economy.”

Schwarzenegger delivered his comments before a group of solar professionals as part of an interview that highlighted his commitment to a thriving solar economy in California.

The summit was convened by SolarTech and the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA) to encourage solar industry leaders to discuss top initiatives to accelerate the state’s solar economy.

Topics included accelerating the adoption of solar technologies, stimulating new markets and job growth in the solar industry, and developing standards and best practices to reduce installation time and costs of solar systems.

In addition to keynote speakers that included Miriam Horn of the Environmental Defense Fund and Fong Wan, senior VP of Energy Procurement at PG&E, the summit's breakout sessions provided an opportunity for solar experts to roll up their sleeves and get to work identifying goals for six key initiatives: Financing, Permitting, Workforce Development, Installation, Interconnection and Performance.

SolarTech committees will continue to work on these initiatives in upcoming months, with the output from the Summit feeding into the U.S. Department of Energy/Solar America Initiative Market Transformation efforts, through state outreach programs. The U.S. Department of Energy was a strategic partner for the Summit. More information is available at www.solartech.org.

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Solar Thermal Workshop for Code Officials Hosted in San Diego

As part of a nationwide program to bring local code and building officials up to speed with residential solar water heating systems, the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) hosted a workshop for building inspectors to learn about solar thermal energy technologies and installation requirements April 27 in San Diego.

More than 50 local officials attended the four-hour training workshop that was taught by solar water heating expert Mark Thornbloom of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. It was one of only four workshops held throughout the country.

“Local code and building officials are key players in inspecting and approving residential solar water heating systems, yet many of them are not thoroughly familiar with SWH technologies and installation requirements,” said Annie Henderson, CCSE program manager for the Solar Water Heating Pilot Program. “Permitting issues are a key market barrier to end-user acceptance, making this type of training critical to achieving the goal of 200,000 systems under the pending AB 1470 program.”

The workshop provided a comprehensive overview of both indoor and outdoor inspections of residential SWH systems, the role of the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation and SWH system designs.

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CSI Program Improvements Highlighted during Second Quarter Public Forum

More than 70 solar industry stakeholders—including the CSI Program Administrators (PAs) and the CPUC—took a deep dive into strategic enhancements for the CSI program at the second quarter CSI Public Forum, held April 28 at PG&E’s San Francisco headquarters.

Much of the morning was spent discussing proposed program improvements and subsequent changes to the CSI Program Handbook. Also discussed were pending California Energy Commission guidelines, including more robust energy efficiency requirements, new field verification measures and shading measurements and modified testing methods for modules and inverters. The PAs are currently finalizing forms and agreements related to these changes and reaching out to industry representatives for feedback.

Prospective handbook improvements discussed by participants include, but are not limited to, allowing a one-step process, removing the demand response requirement and moving toward a paperless process.

For a full list of program improvement proposals as well an update on all of the issues discussed, visit www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov.

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Program Administrators Hold Panel Discussion at Housing California Conference

CSI Program Administrators representing the new Multi-Family Affordable Housing (MASH) and Single-Family Affordable Housing (SASH) programs reached out to affordable housing professionals during a panel discussion at Housing California, the state’s largest affordable housing conference, held April 27-29 in Sacramento.

Housing California brought together more than 1,200 people from all sectors of the affordable housing community—from government officials, developers and service providers to housing advocates and consumers—for training, discussions and networking.

MASH PAs spoke about the basics of the program, which is aimed at installing solar in multifamily affordable housing dwellings. Panelists discussed latest developments and conducted an open discussion with the attendees about the progress of the program to date.

“It was productive to have so many stakeholders in the same room at the same time,” said CCSE’s Jeremy Hutman. “Maintaining an open dialogue with stakeholders is vital to the success of the program.”

>> click here
for a copy of the presentation given at Housing California that provides an update on both the MASH and SASH programs.

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NSHP Tool Kit for Affordable Housing Developers Now Available

The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) has launched a new resource—the NSHP Tool Kit for Affordable Home Developers—to help those who want to go solar.

The Tool Kit was created to guide developers though the NSHP application and financing process, while providing a step-by-step look at local, state and federal funding sources that fit with the NSHP program.

The NSHP offers new affordable housing projects higher incentives than standard market-rate housing projects, since affordable housing projects often face unique challenges and costs associated with adding PV systems to their developments.

For more information on solar for new affordable housing projects and a full copy of the Tool Kit, visit www.gosolarcalifornia.org/builders/affordable.html.

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Go Solar, California! Exhibiting at West Coast Energy Management Congress, June 10-11

Solar contractors interested in meeting energy-solutions decision makers from business, industry and government will be able to do so during the West Coast Energy Management Congress (EMC) set for June 10-11 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Presented by the Association of Energy Engineers and hosted by Southern California Edison, the EMC is now in its 27th year and is where top professionals from throughout the western U.S. will come to get up to speed on the latest energy marketplace developments, explore promising new technologies for their facilities, compare energy supply options and learn about innovative project implementation strategies.

“The Future of Smart Energy” will be addressed by SCE Chairman & CEO Al Fohrer during the opening session of the conference, which also will include sessions in five tracks: “Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency Technologies,” “Environment and Resource Efficiency,” “Renewables and Energy Management,” “Planning for the Future” and “Partnerships.”

Be sure to visit the Go Solar, California! exhibit on the California Green aisle in booth 118.

For more information on the EMC, visit www.aeecenter.org/emc.

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Homeowner Solar Information Sessions Reach 1,000-Customer Attendance Mark

Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Homeowner Solar Information Sessions (HSIS) achieved a milestone on May 6 when the 1,000th customer attended the solar information program in Lancaster, Calif.

To date, SCE has conducted 11 information sessions in 2009, with the goal of reaching out to as many residential customers as possible during the remaining 30+ sessions before the end of the year.

Launched in October 2008, these sessions have been received with a great deal of interest by SCE’s residential customers, as the large turnouts demonstrate. Close to 200 customers attended the sessions in Bishop and Santa Barbara, while more than 150 people showed up in Thousand Oaks. The average attendance so far in 2009 stands at more than 92 customers per session.

“We are very encouraged by the attendance at these sessions,” said SCE’s Javier Burgos, “and we are looking forward to reaching several thousand customers with the ‘Go Solar’ message this year.”

SCE offers the 90-minute, nontechnical, easy-to-understand sessions on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings at different Service Centers and other convenient locations throughout its 50,000-square-mile service territory.

>> click here for more information about the Homeowner Solar Information Sessions.

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Solar America Cities Celebrate Summer Solstice with a Solar and Efficiency Fair in Sonoma County

Solar Sonoma County (SSC)—a consortium of local governments, businesses and individuals funded primarily via a U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Cities grant—celebrating the Summer Solstice on June 20 by hosting the Solar and Efficiency for Clean Energy Fair at Finley Center in Santa Rosa.

SSC is joining forces with PG&E and other industry sponsors to bring comprehensive information on installing and financing solar and energy efficiency projects; to provide resources on green jobs and trainings; and to give the public an opportunity to hear from legislators, including Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who are working toward the shared goal of reducing barriers to solar adoption.

Live music, great food and local wine and beer tasting will also be provided. For more details on this free fair, visit www.solarsonomacounty.org or call 707.284.9799.

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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 | ©2009 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