In This Issue
The 2009 California Solar Initiative (CSI) Impact Evaluation was recently released and provides some key findings of the effects of the CSI Program and longer-term solar PV system performance trends. This study addresses:
- Impacts of CSI-installed PV systems including energy production and peak demand impact
Program Administrators for the CSI Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program have issued the July 2010 Semi-annual Progress Report, detailing advances made in the affordable housing sector. According to the report, administrators have received 404 applications for incentives overall, of which nine projects have been completed for an installed capacity of 473kW. There are 303 applications reserved under Track 1 totaling 19MW, and 16 applications are currently under review. Of the Track 1 applications received, 76 are on waitlists to be reviewed as changes among reserved projects (e.g. system design changes, etc.) free-up available funds.
The report shows a logical tendency towards larger solar systems under the MASH program, which was designed to serve multi-tenant buildings, with an average system size of 54.5 kW. Average system costs in the MASH program are $8.09/Watt, within 5-6 percent of system costs under the general market CSI program (currently $7.66/Watt for systems larger than 10kW.)
Since the last progress report MASH program administrators began awarding Track 2 incentives--competitive grants designed for projects that demonstrate direct tenant benefit--to 12 applicants, with a capacity of 1.3MW. The MASH report also notes the number of tenants benefiting from solar production under Virtual Net Metering tariffs, which enable a solar system’s output to be allocated among tenant accounts. Today, 576 affordable housing tenants have solar power, with another 6,300 coming online when their solar projects are completed.
The featured graphic shows the top ten counties with MASH projects in terms of capacity of active applications. To download the full report, click here.
The first installation under the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program in the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) territory was dedicated during a press conference held July 15 at Hacienda Townhomes, a 52-unit apartment building in downtown San Diego. The 19.8 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system is the 10,000th solar interconnection to SDG&E's grid, which was described by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders as “pretty exciting.” CCSE Executive Director Irene Stillings presented the system’s integrator, Everyday Energy of Carlsbad, Calif., a rebate check for $75,198 from the MASH program.
Hacienda Townhomes, built in 1994, is owned and managed by the San Diego Community Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to support affordable housing opportunities for low-income families. The solar PV retrofit was installed by Everyday Energy under an energy service agreement. The system consists of 96 Canadian Solar 240-watt panels with an estimated annual output of 34,726 kilowatt hours.
It is SDG&E’s first virtual net metering project, which will allow the residents to share the solar benefits from one large solar system. Some 70 percent of the output will serve tenant apartments and about 30 percent will benefit common areas.
Agnes Stupak, CCSE MASH program manager, said the project “demonstrates how MASH rebates extend beyond the middle-class homeowners and businesses who traditionally participate in the program to benefit lower-income, multifamily residents.”
The California Cash for Appliances rebates program is adding more choices for Californians to save. The Energy Commission issued draft guidelines that expand the program to high energy-efficient water heaters including solar. The California Cash for Appliances PLUS rebate program proposal will be heard at the July 28 Energy Commission business meeting.
If approved, consumers can begin to purchase from the new selection of appliances beginning on July 29 until funds are exhausted. Rebates are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. A tracker of the remaining amount of funds available is at www.cash4appliances.org.
Southern California Edison (SCE) experienced an unprecedented surge of new CSI applications in the second quarter, prompting program administrators in July to issue two notifications of incentive level declines: In SCE’s residential sector, incentives moved to Step 5 at $1.55/Watt for EPBB payments; and in the non-residential sector, which caters to projects larger than 10kW or receive Performance Based Incentive (PBI) payments, incentive levels declined to Step 7 at $0.09/kWh of solar production (for more information on statewide incentive levels, visit the CSI Trigger Tracker.) In the first six months of 2010, the volume of applications SCE received was nearly equal to all of 2009, with the volume in April peaking to more than three times the normal amount.
SCE officials say the increase is likely driven in large part to growing consumer awareness of solar technology and the CSI program, changes in market pricing and the fact that SCE passed through step level changes in both the residential and nonresidential sectors simultaneously, a first for SCE. In fact, SCE passed through two nonresidential step changes in less than two months.
As a result, the record number of submittals by SCE customers has produced longer-than-normal processing cycle times.
“To help expedite processing times, we have added night and weekend shifts, borrowing supplemental internal resources to accommodate the additional work,” said Gary Barsley, manager of SCE’s Solar and Self-Generation programs. Those efforts are making an impact as is SCE’s direct outreach to applicants to quickly resolve smaller issues.
SCE will continue to proactively reach out to all applicants to facilitate the process, but the best way to avoid processing delays is to submit all required paperwork completely and accurately at the outset, Barsley said. Free monthly workshops are offered by the PAs for assistance with the CSI application process. See workshop schedule below to register, or call your local PA with questions.
Customers in the San Francisco Bay Area have demonstrated an unceasing commitment to utilizing solar as a source of energy. The newly released report by the Northern California Solar Energy Association (NorCal Solar) shows that installations in the Bay Area continue to grow upward despite the economic downturn and that solar adoption remains a priority within the 10 counties in Northern California. These installations have largely been driven by the continued success of the CSI Program.
Some key highlights from the 2009 report include:
- 40 percent of the 273 megawatts of PV installed in California since 2007 comes from the Bay Area, with 52.7 megawatts in 2009 alone.
To access the complete report, click here.
Webmasters for the CPUC and the Energy Commission are proud to unveil a redesigned web portal for California’s suite of solar programs at www.GoSolarCalifornia.ca.gov, featuring a fresh motif, simpler navigation and current program statistics. .
High-level program descriptions are still found in the About section, but the navigational structure now packages information specific to basic user groups: solar Consumers and solar Professionals. The eligible solar Equipment for all program components is grouped in its own section, as are tools such as the EPBB Calculator, Clean Power estimator and other calculators, calendar, program documents and eligible contractors under Resources. Solar Basics informs users on a range of areas from how solar works to net energy metering and interconnection basics. Press releases, newsletters, reports and customer solar stories are grouped under News & Media. And finally, easy to find Contact info is provided for all solar program components.
“I’m ecstatic about it” raved CPUC intern Patrick Reaves, an MBA student from Duke University who spent his summer in San Francisco working on the site. There is much more to explore, so please visit www.GoSolarCalifornia.ca.gov and see what’s new.
CCSE is celebrating Sustainable Energy Week 2010 in San Diego September 12-18. Join CCSE for the Clean Energy Conference to hear the latest developments in the rapidly evolving clean energy world and to network with energy experts and industry leaders. Learn how to turn energy savings into profit to benefit your brand, and catch up on the latest in solar, wind, fuel cells and energy storage. Conference tracks are Home Performance, Solar in Southern California, Smart Energy = Smart Business and Case Studies & Technology Updates. A luncheon and networking reception is included in the registration fee.
The week’s events include an interactive and fun Family Energy Day and Street Smart San Diego on Sunday, Sept. 12, and Clean Energy Commercial Tours on Sept. 14 & 15. For details, locations and registration go to www.sustainableenergyweek.org or call 866-SDENERGY.
SASH Homeowner "Delighted" with Solar PV
Ninoamezcua said his disabled parents live with his family and that their medical conditions require him to maintain a certain temperature in their home. In the past, he has struggled to cover household energy costs, which were up to $180 per month. Now that they have gone solar, they pay only up to $10 a month.
“We were speechless when we obtained our energy bill – it is so low,” Ninoamezcua said. “I have told everyone about solar and how it has helped my family.”
Nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives, the SASH Program managers, estimates that participants in program save nearly 75 percent on their power bill after they receive PV solar systems. Program incentives have helped make solar affordable for 22 low income families in Piru.
Ninoamezcua says that not only have the energy savings allowed them to invest more in food and health care, but notes that “we have become more conscious about our energy usage ever since the system was put on our home. I don’t know why we weren’t saving energy before but now I am a strong advocate for others to save energy.”
Grid Alternative’s Solarthon held in June brought SASH-incentivized PV systems to eight of Ninoamezcua’s neighbors, bringing the total number of solar homes in the Piru community to 22.
GRID Alternatives will host its second Solarthon event of 2010 on July 31 in West Oakland, and install 9 SASH projects in one neighborhood, in one day.
If you would like more information about GRID or SASH please visit www.gridalternatives.org or call (510) 652-4730.
Workshops Provide Vital Education for Industry Growth
“The CSI program has always offered an extensive list of solar workshops,” said CCSE’s Drew Adams, associate manager of CSI residential. “The CSI Program Administrators (PAs) encourage consumers and industry leaders to take advantage of these great resources by attending free workshops and to spread the word to friends and community members.”
To view a list of workshops coming up in your area, refer to the workshop section of this newsletter or visit your appropriate CSI PA’s Web site. PAs are always open to new and innovative ideas for workshops, so contact your local PA with any recommendations or suggestions for future topics.
Interviews Underway to Evaluate Affordable Solar Housing Programs
Navigant Consulting has been selected by the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct several program evaluations in support of the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) and Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) biennial reports, which are due to be completed in June 2011. The feedback obtained from these interviews is anonymous and confidential. If you are contacted for an interview, your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
PG&E Partners with SolarTech on Green Innovation Workforce Grant
As part of the grant, SolarTech partners with NOVA Workforce Investment Board, Foothill-DeAnza Community College District and other industry leaders to drive an integrated training and workforce opportunities network which includes:
– Advanced design and engineering for large-scale solar PV projects
Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems
Submit your CSI-funded solar system photos here.
and the California Center for Sustainable Energy under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, California 94102