Go Solar, California! Newsletter - March 2010

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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

Now you can Go Solar with rebates for solar water heating systems and other solar thermal technologies, including systems that displace gas water heaters. Beginning May 1, qualifying solar thermal systems are eligible for the California Solar Initiative’s Solar-Thermal Program. Read on for important updates from the CSI program and Go Solar, California!


  • CSI Applications are now PowerClerk only! As of May 1, Excel versions of CSI application forms will be removed from the PA Web sites and no longer accepted. Please see below for details.
  • CCSE is nearing Step 7 for both residential and commercial solar rebates. More information below.

In This Issue

New Rebates for Solar Water Heating Available with CSI Solar-Thermal Program

On January 21, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a new program offering rebates to qualifying gas- and electric-displacing solar water heating systems.

The CSI Solar-Thermal Program (Decision 10-01-022) is administered by the state’s investor-owned gas and electric utilities and the California Center for Sustainable Energy and will begin accepting applications for rebates on May 1. Forty percent of the $350 million allocated for the rebates will go to residential systems, while 60 percent will be issued for commercial projects.

Under the CSI Solar-Thermal Program, residential customers who use natural gas water heaters will be eligible for rebates of up to $1,875 and commercial buildings and multifamily housing projects will be eligible for rebates up to $500,000. Customers with electric water heaters will receive smaller rebates – up to $1,262 for homes and $250,000 for commercial/multifamily – because they will realize savings sooner due to the high cost of electricity. When combined with the 30% federal tax credit, the cost of installing a solar water heating system may be reduced by 50-60%.

For more information, go to the CPUC news release Web site.

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Mandatory Contractor Training for Solar-Thermal Program Now Enrolling

To ensure that contractors understand the CSI Solar-Thermal Program’s requirements, program administrators require that contractors take a one-day class to get acquainted with program rules and practices. Contractors must attend a workshop in order to be eligible to apply for solar thermal rebates.

Upcoming CSI-Thermal educational workshops at CCSE (SDG&E territory):
April 22- Solar Water Heating Contractor Transition Workshop
April 22- Solar Water Heating Basics for Homeowners Workshop
April 26- Solar Water Heating Contractor and Self-Installer Training
May 14- Solar Water Heating Contractor and Self-Installer Training
May 27- Solar Water Heating Basics for Homeowners Workshop
June 24- Solar Water Heating Basics for Homeowners Workshop

CSI-Thermal workshops in PG&E territory:
April 12- Solar Water Heating Basics (an Online Course)
April 13- Solar Water Heating Basics for Residential Customers
April 19- Solar Water Heating Systems
April 26- CSI Thermal (Solar Water Heating) Program Workshop
May 6- CSI Thermal (Solar Water Heating) Program Workshop
May 8- Solar Hot Water Basics for Residential Customers
May 17- CSI Thermal (Solar Water Heating) Program Workshop
May 18- Solar Water Heating Systems
May 25- Solar Water Heating Systems

CSI-Thermal Contractor Training Schedule SCG/SCE territory:
April 26- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
April 30- GasCo - ERC (Downey) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
May 24- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
May 28- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 3- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 21- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 22- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 28- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
June 29- Edison - CTAC (Irwindale) - 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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San Diego CSI Program Nearing Step 7

CCSE has reached half of its allotted residential and nonresidential megawatts in Step 6. As of March 1, CCSE’s residential CSI team had reserved 3.58 MW out of the 6.58 MW allotted, with approximately 0.50 MW under review, with 2.49 MW of Step 6 incentives remaining. CCSE's nonresidential team has reserved 6.81 MW out of the 13.57 MW allotted, with 1.16 MW under review, leaving 5.6 MW of Step 6 incentives remaining.

Once CCSE moves into Step 7, the CSI EPBB incentive will be $0.65/Watt for commercial/residential, $1.40/watt for government/nonprofit and the PBI incentive will be $0.09/kWh for commercial/residential and $0.19/kWh for government/nonprofit.

CCSE will be updating the current MW under review on the CSI Trigger Tracker each week. As they approach the step change, they will update MW under review daily at 4 p.m. until the move into Step 7. MWs reserved are always updated in real time. For the most updated information visit the CSI Trigger Tracker Web site.

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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.

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Governor Signs Bill Raising Net Energy Metering Cap to 5%

On Feb. 26, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 510, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, known as the Net Energy Metering (NEM) bill. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the cap on the total generating capacity of solar and wind net-metered systems in the investor-owned utility territories will be increased to 5% of the utilities' peak load needs. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the solar industry and will keep rooftop installations growing comfortably over the next several years.

In PG&E's territory, the current NEM cap is 3.5% as a result of PG&E's approved request to increase the cap from 2.5%. PG&E's current solar installations relative to the cap can be found on their Web site.

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CPUC Issues Report on Net Energy Metering Program

On March 10, the CPUC presented the state legislature and the governor’s office with a report on the cost effectiveness of California’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) Program. The report, titled Net Energy Metering (NEM) Cost Effectiveness Evaluation, was prepared for the CPUC Energy Division by Energy and Environmental Economics (E3). Net energy metering tariffs are billing arrangements that allow customer-generators to receive bill credits when their onsite renewable electricity generation exceeds onsite demand.

The report shows that by the end of 2008, more than 40,000 utility customers were on some form of NEM tariff and estimates the total 2008 generation from residential NEM customer sites at more than 250 GWh and more than 320 GWh from commercial sites. The vast majority of customers with NEM (99%) had solar PV installed. Fuel cells, biogas, wind and hybrid technologies make up the remaining 1%. To read the report in its entirety, please click here.

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CSI Programs Move Toward PowerClerk-Only Use

The CSI Program Administrators (PAs) are furthering efficiencies and reducing the program's carbon footprint by moving toward PowerClerk-only application submissions. As of May 1, Excel versions of CSI application forms will be removed from the PA Web sites and no longer accepted.

PowerClerk saves time and money for both PAs and PowerClerk users and offers other advantages, such as storing information that allows users to prefill certain application fields, attaching PDF copies of supporting documents and tracking the status of several applications. To register, visit the PowerClerk Web site.

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Get the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook

The third edition of the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook is now available online here. To check for training sessions on the revised Guidebook go to the New Homes page here.

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SolarTech Leadership Summit Quickly Approaching

Join SolarTech and other key sponsors, including PG&E, for the second annual Solar Leadership Summit in San Ramon, Calif., April 21-22. This two-day event brings together solar industry experts and leaders to discuss strategies for reducing market barriers and to collaborate on shaping a sustainable solar future. The summit's second day will look at streamlining industry processes for bringing new technologies and products to market, while minimizing potential impacts on current standards and best practices. For a complete schedule and registration, visit the summit’s Web site.

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PG&E Helping Schools Go Solar with Rahus Institute

An all-day Solar Schoolhouse Forum, co-sponsored by PG&E and the Rahus Institute, aimed at helping schools throughout the state to go solar, will be held March 26 in Rohnert Park, Calif. Successfully implemented projects, financing options and energy-efficiency opportunities will be among the topics discussed. Resources and tools will be provided to help facilitate a solar transition. For more information and registration, visit the Solar Schoolhouse Web site.

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SCE Consolidates Solar Operations

To better serve the solar community, SCE has consolidated all of its customer solar operations, including its Interconnection group, to one location in Rosemead, Calif.

Effective today, March 23, please use the following addresses, taking care to address it to the specific Program Administrator you want to have receive your mail:

SCE Customer Solar & Self-Generation
Southern California Edison
P.O. Box 800
Rosemead CA 91770-0800

Attn: CSI Program Administrator
Attn: CSI NEM Program Administrator
Attn: NSHP Program Administrator
Attn: MASH Program Administrator
Attn: SGIP Program Administrator

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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


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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.

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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