Go Solar, California! Newsletter - February 2010

Solar Toolbox

CSI Handbook



CSI NSHP Affordable Developer Toolkit

CSI Annual Program Assessment

CSI Program Administrators

California Center for Sustainable Energy

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Southern California Edison

California Public Utilities Commission

Go Solar, California! Web site

Greetings ,csi-nl-box-aug

Solar homes such as the Heinrich residence in San Jose, with a 3.6 kW system installed by Vista Solar, will benefit from new legislation that increases the number of solar customers who can take advantage of net energy metering. Read on for more information about the legislation.

Legislature Passes Bill to Raise Solar Net Metering Cap

In This Issue

Legislature Passes Bill to Raise Solar Net Metering Cap

On February 18, the California legislature passed AB 510 (Skinner), raising the cap on net energy metering (NEM) from 2.5% of utilities' peak demand to 5% and doubling the number of potential solar customers that can take advantage of this special billing arrangement. NEM allows customers to receive bill credits for excess energy produced by their solar systems, a considerable advantage to going solar. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has stated he intends to sign the bill.

CSI Program Administrators applaud the efforts of solar advocates throughout the state in getting this important legislation passed. To read more about AB 510, click here.

>> back to top

Distributed Generation Impact Report Now Available

A report submitted by the CPUC in response to Assembly Bill (AB) 578 (Blakeslee, 2008) is now available. AB 578 requires the California Public Utilities Commission to report to the legislature on the impacts of distributed generation (DG) on California's transmission and distribution systems. Among other items, the report evaluates reliability and transmission issues related to connecting DG to the distribution networks and regional grid, the effect on overall grid operation, barriers impacting the connection of DG and the effect DG has on peak electricity demand. Click here to read the report.

>> back to top

CPUC Releases Proposed Winners in CSI RD&D Grant Program

The CSI Research Development, Demonstration and Deployment (RD&D) Program released a notice of proposed awards on January 29, 2010, for its first round grant solicitation on grid integration of photovoltaics (PV). The CSI RD&D Program recommended that eight proposals be awarded for a total of $9.3 million in funding, with the winning projects providing $6.1 million in match funding. The program is required to issue the proposed award winners via a Commission Draft Resolution. The Draft Resolution will be considered at the March 11, 2010, commission meeting. The recommended proposals form a portfolio that spans across the three priority areas of the grant solicitation that relate to grid integration of PV: planning and modeling for high-penetration PV, testing and development of hardware and software and addressing the near-term integration of energy efficiency, demand response and energy storage with PV. To read the Draft Resolution or learn more about the CSI RD&D Program, visit the program Web site.

>> back to top

Go Solar, California! and PAs Partner with Rahus on Solar Forums

More than 140 solar industry stakeholders turned out for the Rahus Solar Forum held Feb. 17 at the Pasadena Convention Center, and co-sponsored by the Rahus Institute, Go Solar, California!, Southern California Edison and others.

Attendees heard about topics that included “Worldwide Solar Market: Review & Forecast” by Paula Mints of Navigant Consulting, “Innovative Financing Through Property Taxes & Municipal Financing” by Ted Flanigan of Ecomotion, “L.A. County AB 811 Residential Financing Program” by Howard Choy of L.A. County, “Workforce Development Status” by Liz Merry of Verve Solar, an overview of Pasadena solar activities by Mauricio Mejia of Pasadena Water & Power and an overview of the CSI and other solar programs by Gary Barsley of SCE.

Another Rahus and partners forum focusing on solar in schools will be held on March 26 in Rohnert Park, Calif. The Solar Schoolhouse Forum, co-presented with partners including PG&E, is intended for school board members, administrators, facilities personnel, teachers, financial officers and others involved in energy management for schools. Successful projects, financing options and energy-efficiency resources and opportunities will be among the topics discussed during the day-long event.

Click here to register or learn more.

>> back to top

SolarTech Leadership Summit in April

Take part in shaping the solar industry’s future at the SolarTech Solar Leadership Summit, April 21-22, in San Ramon, Calif. Building on last year's success, the summit will strive to raise the bar on addressing issues crucial to the solar industry.

Click here to submit an abstract, register or learn more.

>> back to top

Public Workshops on New CSI-Thermal Program

In preparation for a successful launch of the new California Solar Initiative Solar Thermal program, which provides rebates for both electric and gas water heating systems (as well as other solar thermal technologies), CSI Program Administrators are presenting the Draft Program Handbook at a workshop on February 23. The workshop provides an opportunity for all interested stakeholders to comment and collaborate on various pieces of the program, including market facilitation activities. The program will begin taking applications for single-family installations on May 1 and for multifamily and commercial installations on June 1.

The public workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission discusses market facilitation, energy efficiency, freeze protection and the program handbook. Click here for more information.

PG&E is hosting a CSI-Thermal workshop on March 8 to update its customers. Visit www.pge.com/solarclasses to register.

>> back to top

California Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership Guidelines Adopted

The California Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously adopted the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) program Guidebook on Jan. 27, providing more flexibility for builders and expanding funding eligibility.

New NSHP Guidebook changes include allowing projects with leased solar energy systems and power purchase agreements to apply for rebates, reserving funds for housing projects in phases (solar as a standard feature) and extending reservation periods for projects that offer solar as an option.

Updates for affordable housing requirements include aligning occupancy eligibility with the California Solar Initiative (CSI), reducing restrictions for projects to remain affordable from 45 years to 10 years and allowing virtual net metering projects to be eligible for funding.

As of December 2009, NSHP applications represented more than 8,400 new energy-efficient solar homes and approximately 19 megawatts of solar capacity.

Market research released by the CEC suggests that support for built-in solar electric systems in newly constructed homes has not declined among new home buyers despite economic pressures. The value home buyers place on solar energy remains constant with many consumers continuing to believe that builders should make built-in solar electric systems standard features.

Solar contractors and retailers will also be able to update their information online, replacing the retailer form. To view and update your information, click here.

The third edition of the NSHP Guidebook is available on the CEC Web site.

>> back to top

SCE Rolls Out Robust CSI Training Schedule

SCE recently announced its 2010 CSI training schedule, including new classes for the commercial sector and renamed contractor and homeowner classes to better reflect their audiences and focus. All of the classes are free of charge.

SCE will host nearly two dozen CSI Contractor Solar Classes – formerly known as Intro to CSI for Installers – 10 of which will be available via Webinar. They will also offer 42 CSI Homeowner Solar Classes – formerly known as the Homeowner Solar Information Sessions – throughout their service territory.

New for 2010 are 12 CSI Commercial Solar Classes, a hybrid between the contractor and homeowner classes, that will educate nonresidential customers about the CSI program. Also on tap are four SCE Solar Fairs to bring together potential solar customers with contractors.

For more information on SCE’s solar classes, click here.

>> back to top

Compensation Option through AB 920

Assembly Bill (AB) 920 (Huffman, 2009) expands the current net energy metering (NEM) programs for wind and solar by requiring the CPUC to establish a Net Surplus Compensation Program to compensate NEM customers for electricity produced in excess of their on-site load at the end of each 12-month period. On January 15, 2010, the CPUC issued a ruling directing the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to file applications proposing a Net Surplus Compensation rate and other program implementation details pursuant to the bill no later than March 1, 2010. Other utilities subject to the CPUC’s jurisdiction may file applications as directed in the ruling, but are not required to do so; however, if these utilities do not file an application, the CPUC may assign the rate it adopts for the IOU(s) to those utilities after appropriate notice and opportunity for comment by those utilities. AB 920 requires the CPUC to establish the Net Surplus Compensation rate by January 1, 2011.

Click here for more information.

>> back to top

Proposed CSI Program Handbook Amendments

Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and the California Center for Sustainable Energy Program Administrators (PAs) will jointly file an Advice Letter to the CPUC with proposed changes for the new Program Handbook.

The CSI PAs have proposed a new section that will allow them to ensure all solar energy systems receiving an incentive are professionally installed, reliable, permanent, safe and in compliance with all requirements in the CSI Handbook. The CSI Project Review process will be utilized to ensure the solar energy systems are installed as represented on the Incentive Claim Form. The CSI Project Review section will encompass the following:

• Onsite field inspections
• Application process review

The CSI Project Review process may also determine whether an applicant, solar contractor, system owner, seller or host customer are subject to failures and/or fraud.

Along with the new CSI Project Review process, the CSI PAs are revising the way failures are determined. PAs will loosen the definition of failure by classifying them as either minor infractions or major infractions. Three minor infractions will now equal one failure while one major infraction will equal one failure.

PAs have also reclassified what constitutes fraud. Fraud may be due to gross negligence, intentional submission of inaccurate system information in an attempt to collect more incentive dollars or any attempt to intentionally misrepresent any aspect of system performance, cost or components of the CSI Project to the CSI PAs, utilities (especially Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison), the host customer, system owner or any local, state or federal government authority.


>> back to top

Update on New PowerClerk Attachment Feature

PowerClerk’s new online attachment feature is proving to be a success. As of mid-January, 1,278 CSI applications have been filed with electronic documents attached and 5,228 total documents have been uploaded. Recent analysis shows that more than 70 percent of PowerClerk applications have electronic attachments.

This paperless application option is streamlining the process as it improves the time it takes to receive and review applications. Applicants can still send documents via U.S. mail if they prefer.

For more information, contact your CSI Program Administrator. To find the utility in your area, click here.

>> back to top

Trigger Tracker Snapshot


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.

>> back to top

Upcoming Workshops and Trainings by Program Territory

csi-nl-box-sept 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.

Workshops in PG&E Service Territory

Workshops in SCE Service Territory

Workshops in SDG&E Service Territory by the California Center for Sustainable Energy

Other Renewable and Distributed Energy Events

>> back to top

Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems

Calling all installers and solar system owners! 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 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

Submit your CSI-funded solar system photos here.

>> back to top


| |
CCSE | PG&E | SCE | © 2010 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