It is a glorious springtime for solar in California. The CSI program administrators accepted applications for 52 megawatts of solar in March - the most ever submitted in a single month. Data from the first quarter shows 36.3 MW of new solar installed, for a total of 555.4 MW of installed and active solar projects statewide. High demand for solar rebates have caused updates to current incentive levels, listed below. Keep going solar, California!
In This Issue
CSI Milestone: 52 MW Reserved in One Month
The CSI Program achieved an unbelievable milestone in March with 52 megawatts (MW) of reservations submitted in a single month, equal to avoiding the need to build an entire power plant that provides energy during peak demand periods.
Collectively, there were 2,355 customers that filed reservations, totaling 12 MW of residential and 40 MW of nonresidential projects submitted. Once customers file a reservation they have between 12 and 18 months to install their projects. The strong demand is partially the result of imminent incentive step level changes in PG&E, SCE and San Diego territories.
Installations in first quarter 2010 continued steadily. There have been 35 MW of projects installed since Jan. 1, keeping pace with the 10+ MW per month rate that became the norm in 2009.
"Overall demand for solar incentives remains strong statewide, and we reached the amazing 52 MW of reservations in one month despite the slow pace of economic recovery in the building sector," said Molly Sterkel, the CPUC's project manager for the CSI program. "The magnitude of solar program demand in March is unprecedented and hopefully heralds a great summer building season for solar."
To read the CPUC press release, visit their Web site.
PG&E Residential and Nonresidential Applications Move into Step 7
Due to the industry's collective efforts to increase the adoption of solar, PG&E has received enough CSI applications to account for both the residential and nonresidential Step 6 megawatt (MW) allotment, moving residential and nonresidential applications to a Step 7 funding level ($0.65), once the Step 6 capacity has been reserved. Visit www.csi-trigger.com for today's MW status.
As with previous step changes, be aware that the incentive rate is not determined until a project is ready for a reservation. Any new applications not yet received by PG&E should be positioned to host customers at the Step 7 incentive level.
Although PG&E has received enough applications to reach Step 7, please notify PG&E of any applications that need to be cancelled so Step 6 MW can be maximized for our customers. PG&E will also continue to reach out to customers to determine whether projects with older reservations are still proceeding.
CCSE Residential Moves into Step 7
As of March 30, CCSE has officially processed enough reservations to fulfill its Step 6 allotment in the residential sector. All reservations will now be processed at the Step 7 incentive level with EPBB payments for residential at $0.65 per watt and PBI payments at $0.09 per kWh.
For real-time updates on the current status of incentive levels in any utility region, visit www.csi-trigger.com.
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.
SCE Nearing Residential & Nonresidential Step Changes
As of April 19, SCE has received enough applications to account for its nonresidential Step 5 megawatt (MW) allotment. Once all reservations are processed, SCE will move to the Step 6 nonresidential incentive level of $0.15/MW for commercial customers and $0.26 for government and nonprofit entities.
Although SCE has received enough applications to reach Step 6, please notify SCE of any applications that need to be cancelled so the Step 5 allocation can be maximized for its customers.
As of April 19, there are just 4.91 MW remaining in residential Step 4, with 4.44 MW under review. Once SCE moves into residential Step 5, the incentive will drop from the current $1.90 per watt to $1.55 per watt.
Historically speaking, Program Administrators (PAs) face a significant increase in the number of applications as step changes approach. Please keep in mind that applications are processed in the order received. Because no one knows when the step change will occur, you may want to monitor the Trigger Tracker at www.csi-trigger.com.
CSI Excel Forms No Longer Accepted as of May 1
Excel-based Reservation Request and Incentive Claim forms will no longer be accepted by the CSI Program Administrators (PAs) as of May 1 – only PowerClerk submissions will be accepted. This is one change among many that the PAs have recently advanced and implemented to further efficiencies and reduce the program's carbon footprint.
PowerClerk saves time and money for both PAs and users and offers other advantages such as storing information allowing users to prefill certain application fields, attaching PDF copies of supporting documents and tracking the status of applications. To register, visit the PowerClerk Web site at www.csi.powerclerk.com.
First Quarter MASH Track 2 Application Cycle Closes
The first quarter Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program Track 2 application cycle closed March 31. Track 2 applications are accepted every first and third quarter by all of the Program Administrators (PAs) who subsequently announce awardees in the second and fourth quarters. The next cycle of applications begins on July 1 and ends Sept. 30.
MASH program goals include stimulating adoption of solar power in the affordable housing community and the application of energy efficiency technologies, decreasing electricity use and costs and increasing appreciation for the benefits of solar. MASH Track 2 funding provides higher, grant-style incentives for projects that provide direct tenant benefits.
MASH Track 1 Program Closes in SCE Territory
As of January, SCE received Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program applications for more than the allotted $34.6 million in Track 1. Current wait-listed projects will be funded through Track 1 attrition. Please note that after April 30 the program will no longer accept new applications for the MASH Track 1 wait List.
In addition, please let SCE know if you have any reserved applications that are no longer proceeding and need to be cancelled. If you have any questions, contact SCE at 866-584-7436 or CSIGroup@sce.com.
SCE Rate Option R Helps Commercial & Industrial Customers
Certain commercial and industrial customers with installed renewable energy generation systems in the Southern California Edison (SCE) territory are eligible for a time-of-use rate with no on-peak or mid-peak demand charges and with reduced facilities-related demand changes in exchange for higher on-peak and mid-peak energy charges.
Called Option R, the program is beneficial to customers with installed solar or other renewable energy generating system because it helps offset the costs associated with renewable energy generating system installations by reducing the impact of the intermittent nature of solar generation.
For more information about the SCE program and eligibility, visit SCE online.
PG&E and Diablo Valley College Offer SWH Summer Course
PG&E is partnering with Diablo Valley College this summer to present a six-day course on solar water heating (SWH) offering technical expertise and installation training. This free course is intended to increase the number of qualified SWH contractors in support of the new CSI Thermal Program and is part of PG&E's renowned PowerPathway Program, which provides opportunities for building the pool of skilled workers needed by the energy and utility industries.
If you are an established PV contractor looking to expand your business into SWH, you may be eligible to participate in this course. Enrollment is limited. For more information or to give input about the course, contact Jessica Tellez at JLTg@pge.com.
Sun Shines on Harrah's Rincon Casino
Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort in Valley Center, Calif., became the first casino in the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory to adopt solar PV with the installation of a 1 megawatt system with more than 4,000 panels.
The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians will receive a performance-based rebate from CSI that is expected to total some $3 million over the next five years. They also installed energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, retrofitted 10,000 light fixtures with energy-efficient lamps and took a host of measures to reduce their electricity use and carbon footprint. According to Harrah’s Rincon officials, the system is the result of a partnership between the Rincon Band, the California Center for Sustainable Energy, Suntech Power, TRANE and San Diego Gas & Electric.
San Francisco Rolls Out PACE Financing
On April 11, the City and County of San Francisco launched the nation’s largest property assessed clean energy (PACE) program, called GreenFinanceSF, allowing property owners to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects with a 20-year loan repaid through an assessment on their property taxes. GreenFinanceSF is a $150 million, privately funded program administered by Oakland-based Renewable Funding.
In addition to alleviating the usual up-front costs of environmental improvements, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said the program "will save property owners money on monthly utility bills, increase property value and will help the city meet its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals."
Many more California cities and counties are expected to launch PACE programs by the end of the year. Complete details are at www.greenfinancesf.org.
New Appliance Rebates Help Achieve CSI EE Requirements
One way of meeting the energy-efficiency requirements for your CSI rebate is to consider chucking your old refrigerator, clothes washer or room air conditioner for new energy-efficient models. Now is a good time because the California Cash for Appliances program began on April 22 – Earth Day. Funding comes from the federal stimulus program for qualifying appliances: $200 for refrigerators, $100 for washers and $50 for AC units. These rebates can be combined with others offered by manufacturers, retailers or local utilities. Check out Cash for Appliances and Flex Your Power.
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.
Workshops in PG&E Service Territory
Workshops in SCE Service Territory
Workshops in SDG&E Service Territory by the California Center for Sustainable Energy
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.