Go Solar, California! Newsletter - November 2011
Go Solar, California! Newsletter - March 2012

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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

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This month, Team CSI is surveying our readers to learn how we can make the monthly Go Solar, California! e-newsletter better. Would you mind taking the survey? It will only take a minute – simply click here. Thanks for your help, and read on for important updates from the CSI Program Administrators.

In This Issue


SCE's NEM Processes Picking up Steam

On March 12, Southern California Edison (SCE) sent letters to customers impacted by the record number of net energy metering (NEM) interconnection applications received in late 2011. Contractors working in SCE's service territory were also notified.

The unusually heavy application volume resulted in a delay of the NEM permit, metering and rate transfer processes. As a result, it has taken longer than normal to apply NEM credits to SCE customers' electricity bills.

SCE assures customers that this is only a temporary delay and that the utility is working to retroactively credit customer accounts with compensation for any excess electricity that their system produced, starting with the first full billing cycle after the system was authorized to interconnect.

SCE expects the processing of the retroactive credits to be completed by March 31, 2012, and adjustments will appear on customers' next SCE statement in that billing period.

Further, SCE is implementing an end-to-end process change that will have a positive impact toward reducing the amount of time it takes to process NEM applications.

SCE customers with NEM billing questions may call SCE's NEM Support Center directly Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (866)701-7868 for residential customers and (866) 701-7869 for commercial customers. The updated NEM Interconnection Handbook, NEM agreement forms and a video tutorial for installers are available at www.SCE.com/NEM.


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New Program Changes to CSI Handbook

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the latest version of the CSI Handbook on February 16. Two major changes are

  • Suspended Reservation and Proof of Project Milestone Timeframes – The deadline for responding to requested clarification for incomplete reservation requests and incomplete proof of project milestones has changed to 14 days.
  • Field Verification Certification Form – Applicants are no longer required to submit the Field Verification Certification Form as part of the incentive claim package. However, contractors are still required to submit the completed form to the host customer, retain a copy and, if requested, provide it to Program Administrators.

Read the current version of the CSI handbook here.


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CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program Begins March 29

The CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program is set to begin accepting applications March 29, 2012. The program is intended to promote the installation of gas-displacing solar water heating (SWH) systems on qualifying low-income single-family and multifamily residences in the service territories of PG&E, SoCalGas and SDG&E. The low-income program will provide up to $3,750 and $500,000 in incentives for single-family and multifamily, respectively. For more information, click here.


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SolarTech Launches Solar Energy Estimate Report

The nonprofit industry consortium SolarTech announced the launch of the Solar Energy Estimate (SEE) Report as an open web service at SolarHub.com. The goal is to reduce consumer confusion by offering a service similar to the federal government's new-car mpg rating system.

The SEE report uses standardized calculations combined with the installer's site-specific equipment design variables and local solar insolation data to provide the annual estimated energy production for the solar system. This standardized estimate allows consumers to compare multiple solar PV designs for a specific location.

The SEE report includes estimates for the first year energy production; the total energy produced over 25 years and a graphic showing the variation in monthly energy production over a full year.


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CCSE Offers Online Trainings on CSI Application Process

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is now offering a series of short online trainings on the CSI application process. The trainings are aimed at installers and applicants who are new to the CSI program and for homeowners who would like to apply for the rebate themselves.

These online trainings can be utilized as a self-serve option for applicants to learn about the CSI application process on their own schedule. The entire series can be completed in less than one hour.

Trainings are available at www.energycenter.org/csi-webinars.


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California's Largest Solar-Thermal Project Unveiled

California's largest solar water heating system, with 20,000 square feet of panels and a 13,000-gallon storage tank, was unveiled at a press conference held March 1 at the Stapleton-Spence Packing Company, a fruit processing facility in Gridley, Calif.

Company leaders and local elected officials including Gridley Mayor Jerry Ann Fichter, Chico Mayor Ann Schwab and Butte County Supervisor Steve Lambert gathered for the event. Nick Stimmel, a senior program manager for Pacific Gas & Electric's solar thermal program, presented a $467,000 CSI rebate check to the company, the largest amount paid for a solar-thermal project.

This is the first project to participate in the 70/30 True-up payment process for the CSI-Thermal program. Under this structure, 70% of the incentive is paid upon completion of the installation, and the balance is paid after 12 months of metered data.

The system will save 37,584 therms of natural gas annually, which means a yearly reduction of $20,000 in heating bills. The system was installed by FAFCO and BCM Construction.









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New San Diego County PV Permitting Guide

A San Diego County PV permitting guide is now available on the CSI website at the California Center for Sustainable Energy. The newly released document contains important information on the permitting process for the 19 jurisdictions in San Diego County.

CCSE will update this guide when new information becomes available; however, CCSE recommends that you contact the necessary jurisdiction directly to obtain the specifics for what is required to apply.

You can download the guide under "Resources" at www.energycenter.org/solar.


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GRID Alternatives Team Leader Program Supports Networking in Solar

For Shane Hess of Fresno, getting a "foot in the door" in the solar industry by participating in the team leader program at the nonprofit GRID Alternatives landed him back in the classroom, this time as a teacher.

A former construction worker, Hess was eager to complement the knowledge learned in solar courses at Fresno City College with hands-on solar experience. He volunteered with GRID Alternatives for more than 110 hours and became a team leader in August 2011.

"I kept coming back more, honing my skills and learning how everything comes together," Hess said. "Working with GRID has also allowed me to network with people in the industry, identify who is who and where the industry is going."

While serving as a team leader one day, Hess gave instructions to a group of GRID Alternatives job trainees and was observed by Desiree Landeros, a program manager in the educational division at Proteus, a job training organization. She was very impressed by his knowledge of photovoltaic systems and his ability to clearly explain concepts to the students. Hess now teaches periodically for Proteus's photovoltaics courses.

To learn more about workforce development at GRID Alternatives, click here.


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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 and Stories 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 and success stories 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 and stories.

  • 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 and stories here.


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CCSE | PG&E | SCE | © 2011 California Solar Initiative


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California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, California 94102