Go Solar, California! Newsletter - February 2011

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 and Happy New Year !

csi-nl-box-augGot solar? Then share your story with other Go Solar, California! readers in our new monthly feature, "Solar Success Stories." With more than 70,000 solar customers, it's time to showcase solar stories from real solar customers, large or small, to show everyone that going solar is easy, fast and really pays off. We encourage you to share any good advice and energy-saving tips you learned along the way. Click here and send us your story and photos of your solar system, and we will send you a fancy-pants T-shirt! Read on for important updates from CSI Program Administrators.

In This Issue

Product Recall: Schneider Electric Recalls Xantrex GT Series Grid-Tie Solar Inverters

Schneider Electric, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a voluntary recall of several models of its popular Xantrex grid-tie inverters in mid-January. The recalled units were manufactured between September 2005 and August 2010 and sold under the Xantrex, Sunpower and General Electric brands.

Installers and owners of Xantrex solar inverters should check to see if their models are listed and take steps to ensure professional installation of factory-issued repair kits. Installers will receive payments by Schneider Electric to install repair parts in all inverters installed. Customers should contact their solar system installer or contractor for service if they own the brand and serial number under recall. For product and service details, please visit Schneider Electric's customer service contact site.


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MASH Semiannual Report Highlights Success for Affordable Solar Housing

csi-nl-box-augProgram Administrators for the CSI Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program issued the February 2011 Semiannual Report, showing 36 completed projects totaling over 2 megawatts (MW) — a significant increase in completed projects since July 2010. Other highlights include an estimated 18.9 MW of capacity expected to be installed from active Track 1 reservations and updates on regulatory activities affecting the program.

Throughout most of 2010, MASH Program Administrators monitored waiting lists for program incentives so they could enable as many projects to move forward when reservations cancelled, leaving dollars available for other applications. As a result, SCE was able to move all of its waitlist projects into active status and reopened its waitlist in January 2011. San Diego MASH Program Administrators at the California Center for Sustainable Energy continue to accept waitlist applications; however PG&E is still not accepting additional applications at this time due to the significant size of its waitlist.

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RD&D/DOE San Diego Conference Scheduled March 1-2

The CSI Research, Development and Deployment (RD&D) program will host a conference with the Department of Energy during March 1-2 in San Diego. Several of the projects funded in the first CSI RD&D solicitation were also funded by the DOE, because both agencies have integration of high-penetration PV into the grid as a major goal.

The purpose of the conference is to allow both CSI and DOE researchers to present their research plans for feedback. The target audience is a technical one: CAISO planners, utility schedulers, etc. The idea is that the academic groups who are doing research on these topics can bounce ideas off the people who would be making use of the results. In addition, there is potential for collaboration between researchers.

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SolarTech, SCE Tackle Solar Permitting and Interconnection Issues

California may be the most solar-savvy state in the nation, yet across the state solar permitting and interconnection issues can still hamper solar projects and remain a cost driver and a headache for industry and consumers alike. Fortunately, efforts are under way to drive standardization and move the industry forward in broad adoption of streamlined permitting and interconnection best practices.

Join solar industry consortium SolarTech and its partners at the second annual SolarTech Permitting and Interconnection Symposium February 10 at Southern California Edison's Customer Technology Application Center in Irwindale. Leading solar installers and integrators, decision makers and building department representatives will present the latest solutions and practices for residential and commercial systems and address methods to streamline transaction times, improve efficiency and reduce project cost. SolarTech presents this symposium with the collaborative leadership of Southern California Edison.

Date: Thursday, February 10, 2011
Time: Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., program runs 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Customer Technology Application Center, Irwindale, CA
Registration Fee: $165 nonmembers, $85 SolarTech members, $45 government & utility representatives
You can register online by clicking here.

Questions: Jeff Burgess

Also, mark your calendar for the 2011 SolarTech Solar Leadership Summit on March 29 in Santa Clara. A call for speakers and sponsors is now open, and current speakers include a star-studded lineup from every red-hot acronym in the solar industry. For more information, please visit the Summit page on the SolarTech website.


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CCSE volunteers with GRID Alternatives

Over a sunny weekend in January, a team from the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) volunteered to support a GRID Alternatives installation in Vista, Calif.

The CCSE group carpooled to the installation where they received a safety brief from GRID staff members and got right to work. Over two days, they learned new skills and helped install a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system as part of the Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) program. Many of the volunteers work in the California Solar Initiative (CSI) program at CCSE, but never really knew what it took to install a system.

"As an energy engineer at CCSE, I talk to homeowners and business owners every day about the benefits of installing solar," said Mike Bigelow, PE/LEED-AP. "This experience at an installation made those ideas and designs real for me – plus, I had fun doing it!"

This installation was one of many around the state that are possible because of the hard work of the GRID Alternatives staff and generous volunteers. Through their installations, GRID Alternatives provides renewable energy systems to low-income families, along with the opportunity for individuals to receive hands-on solar training.


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SASH Program Ramps Up through 2010, Exceeds Targets by 60%

csi-nl-box-augWhat do hundreds of low-income California families and nearly 4,000 individual volunteers and job trainees have in common? They were all brought together through the rapid expansion of the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program, a segment of the California Solar Initiative that focuses on making solar a viable option for low-income families.

GRID Alternatives, the program administrator for SASH, created widespread positive impacts in communities in 2010 through economic savings, lower greenhouse gas emissions and workforce development opportunities. Job trainees have helped out GRID's construction teams on SASH solar installations around the state while learning valuable skills.

In 2010, SASH photovoltaic installations rose well above 300, doubling the prior year's installation pace. By the close of 2010, GRID Alternatives had processed over 800 SASH applications, totaling more than 2.1 megawatts (CEC-AC) and $13 million in incentives. These results exceed SASH's 2010 targets by 60% and will propel the program towards surpassing its goals for 2011.

A principal benefit of the SASH Program is that low-income families save money on their utility bills. Our estimates suggest that the SASH PV installations through 2010 will be worth a collective $8.6 million in utility bill savings to homeowners over the 30-year lifetimes of the solar systems. In addition, SASH estimates that installations through 2010 will save 34,600 tons of carbon dioxide.

GRID Alternatives expects to double SASH installations in 2011 and looks forward to another year of bringing the widespread benefits of solar to low-income families and communities throughout California. For further information about the SASH Program or GRID Alternatives, please visit their Web site or call 1-866-921-4696.

Interested in learning how to fill out CSI applications like a pro? The CSI Program Administrators hold free installer trainings each month throughout the state. Check the Go Solar, California! Solar Calendar for upcoming training opportunities, and see below for current offerings.


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New Solar Workshops Scheduled in San Diego

In continued efforts to improve consumer awareness in the solar market, the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) in the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory has added a follow-on workshop to its basic training for homeowners. After learning the fundamentals of residential installations in "Solar for Homeowners 1," consumers can now attend a second class, "Solar for Homeowners 2," to learn the ins and outs of choosing a solar company that operates in an ethical and trustworthy fashion. Topics covered in this new workshop include contract guidelines and recommendations, bid comparison analysis and a deeper look at specific terminology associated with solar installations. CCSE hopes this new workshop will help consumers make even smarter and experienced decisions.

In addition to educating consumers on how to be a smart solar consumer, CCSE also explores the latest developments in the photovoltaic industry in its Solar Technology Series. Focusing on new and emerging technologies, this series of workshops has focused on microinverters, maximizers, concentrated solar, advanced metering and monitoring services and combined PV and thermal systems.


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CSI Program Forum Presentations Online

Slide presentations for the January CSI Program Forum, hosted by PG&E's Pacific Energy Center, are available online. In addition to general market updates, Program Administrators also discussed the affordable solar programs, marketing and outreach strategies, new data reporting features and the CSI-Thermal program. The next CSI Program Forum will be announced in the next newsletter.

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

Workshops in PG&E Service Territory

Workshops in SCE Service Territory

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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 | © 2011 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.

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