Go Solar, California! Newsletter - April 2012
Go Solar, California! Newsletter - April 2012

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


Cross Promotion

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Greetings !

Now that the CSI-Thermal program is under way, Program Administrators are launching a big splashy PR campaign to promote solar water heating in California. You'll be seeing and hearing ads for "Water Heated By the Sun" encouraging Californians to make solar water part of their green routine. . . . Read on for more solar news and important updates from CSI Program Administrators.

Solar with a View - High above Malibu, Calif., this new home was topped off in December with a 9-kw solar system funded in part by CSI's New Solar Homes Partnership program. California Sun Systems of Canoga Park, who provided this magnificent photo, installed the system with 40 Sunpower 225-watt modules. Click here to submit a photo and feature your beautiful solar system in the Go Solar, California! newsletter.


Next CSI Program Forum
May 16, 2012 – 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
California Center for Sustainable Energy
8690 Balboa Ave, Suite 100, San Diego

The CSI Program Forum is held quarterly as a venue for stakeholders to identify and discuss top-priority issues related to the CSI program and to suggest revisions to the CSI Program Handbook. Participants in both the CSI and the CSI-Thermal program are encouraged to attend. The agenda, webcast and call-in information are available here.


In This Issue


SCE Nearing Residential Step Change

As of April 6, Southern California Edison (SCE) received sufficient applications to account for Step 7 residential megawatt allotment. SCE had 0.82 MW remaining in Step 7 with 2.2 MW under review.

Once SCE officially crosses into residential Step 8, the incentive will move from $0.65 per watt to $0.35 per watt. SCE's last residential step change occurred in September 2011.

Typically, there is a significant increase in the number of applications as step changes approach. The best way to avoid processing delays is to submit all required paperwork completely and accurately. You can monitor the situation at the Trigger Tracker and check the status of applications at the PowerClerk website.



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Meet the Next Step in Your Green Routine: Solar Water Heating!

For many Californians, taking action to help the environment is already a way of life, from recycling and using low-flow showerheads to weatherproofing their homes and driving a low-emissions vehicle. Plus, more than 100,000 homes and businesses already generate power with solar PV. Now the CSI-Thermal Program is encouraging all Californians to take the next step in their green routine with solar water heating.

For "Earth Month," CSI Program Administrators are launching a $5 million statewide PR campaign for solar water heating with television and radio commercials directing customers to the campaign's website, WaterHeatedByTheSun.com. The purpose of the campaign is to let home and business owners know that solar water heating is a proven technology with both economic and environmental rewards.

Be sure to listen and watch for Water Heated By the Sun commercial messages!


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CSI Program Administrators Offer Solar Water Heating Training Program for Contractors

As part of the campaign to promote solar water heating in California, CSI program administrators are providing training programs for contractors so that they are ready to serve increasing demand.

In San Diego, the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is partnering with National Solar Trainers to provide an in-depth solar water heating training program. Attendees will learn the skills needed to launch a solar water heating career as an installer, designer, sales and marketing professional or entrepreneur.

April 23-24 – Technology fundamentals, sales, marketing and business development
$50 including course workbook and lunch (register here)

April 23-26 – System design and a comprehensive installation laboratory
$100 including course workbook and lunch (register here).

In Northern California, PG&E offers several stand-alone solar water heating workshops for contractors of all levels, from experienced contractors to professionals just learning the technology. PG&E also offers solar water heating basics classes for homeowners.

In Southern California, SCE offers training at its Energy Education Center in Irwindale for contractors that specialize in electric-displacing solar water heating systems, while So Cal Gas provides training at its Energy Resource Center in Downey for contractors that specialize in gas-displacing systems.

Program administrators continue to develop new courses to meet the needs of this growing solar market and encourage customers and contractors to check for monthly updates.



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CPUC Initiates Solar Market Assessment and Transformation Study

As part of the measurement & evaluation portion of the California Solar Initiative program, the California Public Utilities Commission is soliciting bids for the completion of a solar market assessment and market transformation study. The study will pursue three tracks:

Solar roofing assessment
Identifying issues involved in roof structures that support photovoltaic (PV) systems, including the applicability of roof warranties and the fact that a roof may need to be replaced within 15-20 years while PV systems are expected to have a useful lifetime of 25-30 years.

Third-party ownership market impact
Assessing how the growth of third-party owned solar systems is affecting the development of the solar industry by reducing or eliminating up-front costs, which has historically been a significant financial barrier.

Customer-solar market transformation
Examining the progress of the solar industry and gauging the ability of the industry/market to thrive without subsidies and interventions. The study will assess the primary drivers of California's solar market and help to forecast future development as incentives decline, leading to the phase out of CSI as well as other supporting programs such as the federal investment tax credit.

Once the CPUC makes its selection for the evaluation contractor, the study is expected to be completed in late 2013.

The CPUC also recently issued an RFP for the biennial Impacts of Distributed Generation Study (PY 2010-2011) to evaluate the impact of distributed generations policies and programs in California. The study is expected to be finalized by October 2012 and will report to the state legislature on the impact and costs associated with integration of renewables into the investor-owned utilities portfolios through utility and customer-side generation.

For more information on the request for proposal, visit the CPUC's CSI website.


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Marketing for Solar Contractors: the Value of E-Signatures

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) will host a webinar for solar contractors on the benefits of using electronic signatures featuring a representative from Sertify, a leading e-signature and agreement execution company. The webinar will provide solar contractors and others the opportunity to learn about the value of this technology to their business as well as to provide feedback to CCSE on the use of the CSI Electronic Signature Guidelines.

This webinar will be held April 26, 2012 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and registration, click here.


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Solar Industry Philanthropy Makes CSI Dollars Go Farther

Rosaura and Francisco Montelongo just got a big break on their electricity bills. A 1.2-kw solar electric system installed by the nonprofit GRID Alternatives in late February is expected to cut energy costs for the low-income family in half, freeing up money for other essentials. And thanks to solar industry philanthropy, their up-front costs were almost nothing.

GRID Alternatives, administrators of the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) rebate program, announced last month major philanthropic partnerships with industry giants Yingli Solar and SunPower Corporation that are making rebate funds for homeowners like the Montelongos stretch. As official solar module providers, each company is supporting GRID Alternatives in 2012 through a mix of donated panels and fair market value sales. The partnerships are expected to benefit as many as 600 families.

"These companies' support for GRID Alternatives means millions more in long-term savings for low-income families that need them most," said Erica Mackie, executive director and co-founder of GRID Alternatives.



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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