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Go Solar, California! Newsletter - November 2010

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 ,

csi-nl-box-aug During the 2010 National Solar Homes Tour on October 2, Tim Regello of San Marcos, Calif. (left) described his 7.7-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system to the prospective solar customers who stopped along the way. Hundreds of homeowners showed off their solar systems during the annual event, which is designed to encourage others to go solar by showcasing systems performing on real homes. Californians like Tim and others on the tour truly lead the nation in solar. For more statistics about solar in California, see the new “California Leads the Nation” feature in the Solar Toolbox, left, and visit the updated California Solar Statistics Web site.

In This Issue

CPUC approves CSI Thermal Commercial and Multifamily Programs
Solar Incentives Drop in PG&E and San Diego Territories
New California Solar Statistics Web Site Features Enhanced Functionality
Solar Power International a Success; CSI Program Forum Slides Available
All CSI Applications must be Online as of December 1
SCE Presents $1.8 Million MASH Incentive to City of Indian Wells
Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Solar Water Heating Class Graduates
SASH Installations at Central Valley Solarthon Unite Families with Solar Power
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings by Program Territory
Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems

CPUC approves CSI Thermal Commercial and Multifamily Programs

The California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC) approved incentives for commercial and multifamily solar water heating throughout the state on Oct. 8 as part of CSI’s Thermal Program that has a goal of adding 200,000 solar thermal systems in California by 2018. Residential solar water heating rebates began in May, however the commercial and multifamily portion was held up as the CPUC went over details of the program with various stakeholders.

“These systems can be cost-effective for ratepayers, while helping to displace both electricity and natural gas usage in new and existing businesses,” said Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich of the CPUC. “Thus a focused, cost-effective program to improve the market for this technology can serve as a key step in our path to zero net energy.”

Some 60 percent of the $280 million incentive funds allocated by the CPUC for the CSI Thermal Program are earmarked for commercial and multifamily installations. The new program provides customers who use natural gas rebates of up to $500,000 for commercial buildings and multifamily housing. Customers who use electric water heaters will receive smaller rebates – up to $250,000 – because they will realize savings sooner due to the high cost of electricity. Systems installed since July 15, 2009, can apply for the rebates.

The CPUC predicts the greatest potential for solar water heating market growth is in the lodging, health and restaurant sectors as well as multifamily dwellings, industrial facilities and laundromats.

To learn more about the CSI Thermal rebate program, visit A new online calculator helps users determine system size requirements and estimated rebates.

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Solar Incentives Drop in PG&E and San Diego Territories: Now Step 8 for PG&E Residential and CCSE Nonresidential

Thanks to the continued efforts of the solar industry, Pacific Gas &Electric (PG&E) received enough new residential applications to reach the Step 7 megawatt capacity for the residential sector during the first week of October, moving incentives to Step 8 levels at $0.35/Watt or $0.05/kWh. That week alone, PG&E received over 900 new residential Reservation Requests in six days.

The exact cut-off date has not yet been determined, as staff is still working through the high volume of applications and addressing cancellations. Applicants and customers will be notified of the incentive rate upon initial reservation. For updated status on a specific application, please click here.

In the nonresidential sector, the California Center for Sustainable Energy has received enough applications to fulfill the allotment for nonresidential megawatts in Step 7 in the San Diego Gas & Electric territory. All commercial applications now will be reserved under Step 8 at $0.35 per Watt (EPBB) and $0.05 per kWh (PBI).

For the incentive breakdown for government and nonprofit projects, and also to see a real-time account of megawatts remaining in all three utility territories, please visit the Trigger Tracker.

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New California Solar Statistics Web Site Features Enhanced Functionality

CSI program administrators are pleased to announce the launch of an enhanced and redesigned California Solar Statistics Web site. This site is the California Solar Initiative's public program reporting tool, providing dynamic tables and figures to track the status and progress of the general market solar program.

New highlights on California Solar Statistics include:

  • Smarter site navigation: find the solar information you need quickly and easily.
  • View Solar Statistics, a drop-down feature where you can access a menu of detailed tables and figures showing: program totals, geographical totals (by city, county and zip code), monthly statistics, cost data, application status, applications by customer sector and progress towards program goals.
  • Robust data filters for every table or figure, letting you immediately see a figure with your filters applied, or download the filtered data set.
  • Previously unavailable data representations; specifically, information regarding the installed cost of PV systems: cost distribution, cost by quarter and cost by system size. These new figures are among those found under the View Solar Statistics menu at the top of the left hand navigation bar of the new site.
  • A powerful new Find a Contractor feature allowing users to enter their location and find a list of solar contractors in their area, complete with contact information, number of projects, average project size and average cost/watt for completed systems in the specified area. Each of these columns is sortable to assist users in finding contractors who best fit their specific needs. (Note that contact information is pulled from the Go Solar, California! contractor database, which is not complete for all solar contractors.)

The site is updated every Wednesday with publicly available data from the California Solar Initiative project application database. The weekly export from the program database is filtered for data errors, and then used to generate the tables and figures. The working data set is always available in raw form for researchers to download directly and includes dozens of additional data fields.

The new Web site design integrates with the main CSI program Web site, Both sites display summary statistics in a new feature called "California Leads the Nation,” which pulls together publicly available data from the CSI Program, as well as other solar programs throughout the state.

As in previous versions of the site, you can always click and zoom in on a particular figure to see a portion of the figure up close. Holding your cursor over any part of a figure reveals the data for that bar or line. All data is always viewable and downloadable in table format.

The new site is accessible at:

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Solar Power International a Success; CSI Program Forum Slides Available

The 2010 Solar Power International Conference and Exposition, held October 12-14 in Los Angeles, proved once again to be an outstanding success, and the CSI Program Administrators were on hand to answer questions and promote the program on the bustling expo floor as well as at the third-quarter CSI Program Forum, held during the event. With more than 1,000 exhibitors and 27,000 attendees, this year the buzz centered around new technologies and programs, like the CSI-Thermal program for water heating, as well as solar cost analyses, workforce development, federal funding and the outlook for solar both nationally and globally.

Click here to view the CSI Program Forum Slides from 10/13/2010.
Click here to read an article about the costs and benefits of solar from Greentech Media featuring CSI Project and Program Supervisor, Molly Sterkel.

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All CSI Applications must be Online as of December 1

Starting December 1, all CSI applications must be both created and submitted through the online project management tool PowerClerk ( Mailed, hardcopy applications will no longer be accepted.

The CSI program has already seen great improvements in efficiencies and application review times when projects are submitted completely through PowerClerk. The electronic submittal requirement is one additional step to making the CSI application process more user-friendly and time-efficient.

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SCE Presents $1.8 Million MASH Incentive to City of Indian Wells

In conjunction with national Energy Awareness Month 2010 and California’s Solar Energy Month, the City of Indian Wells, Calif., on Oct. 21 dedicated the installation of a 221.5-kilowatt solar generating system on a city-owned apartment building for income-eligible residents who will benefit from lower electricity bills in the desert city.

The $3.2 million project was offset by $1.8 million in incentives from Southern California Edison (SCE) through the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program.

The city also showcased energy efficiency upgrades in the 90-unit complex, including energy-efficient roofing and air conditioning systems, dual-flush toilets, tankless hot water heaters, lighting upgrades and smart irrigation controllers. The solar installation project also includes a virtual monitoring system of the facility’s solar power production.

“Converting Indian Wells Villas into an ‘Energy Smart Community’ is another initiative that emphasizes the city’s dedication to an optimal quality of life for its residents and the desert community,” said Indian Wells Mayor Ed Monarch. “We live in a region that sees more than 350 days of sunshine annually, so it makes sense to harness the power of the sun for clean energy development.”

Gene Rodrigues, SCE’s director of energy efficiency and customer solar, said, “We hope that more cities and businesses take note and follow the great example set by the City of Indian Wells.”

The city received an additional $405,000 in funding and rebates from other participating partners including Coachella Valley Water District and Southern California Gas.

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Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Solar Water Heating Class Graduates

Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce’s Green Committee and key elected representatives, such as State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and Pleasant Hill Mayor Karen Mitchoff, recently honored 26 graduates who completed the free PowerPathway™ Solar Water Heating course at Diablo Valley College this past summer. The Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) workforce development training program focused on meeting the expected increase in demand for solar water heating installations in the residential and commercial sectors due to the launch of the CSI Thermal program.

The students were all owners or employees of small plumbing or solar contracting businesses who took the training to increase skills and further their careers in solar thermal system installations. The course was open to candidates with a valid California contractor’s license and prior photovoltaic panel installation or plumbing experience. The training provided graduates with the necessary tools and knowledge to expand their small businesses and respond to increased customer demand for energy efficiency.

The results from the course have been outstanding, according to PG&E officials. One student reported that he had generated so much new business activity as a result of the training that he was able to hire additional staff to keep up with the demand.

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SASH Installations at Central Valley Solarthon Unite Families with Solar Power

GRID Alternatives’ Central Valley office hosted its first Solarthon event on Saturday, Oct. 2, in Fresno, Calif. Some 150 community volunteers installed seven solar photovoltaic (PV) systems funded with Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program incentives. A total of 8.4 kilowatts were installed, which will provide seven low-income families with up to 75 percent savings on their electric bills. The SASH incentive program provides low-income families with free or low-cost PV systems to reduce household energy expenses and to allow families to direct those savings toward other basic needs.

The Fresno Solarthon was a community event supporting families in the Sierra Pointe affordable-housing development. Two of the seven homeowners that received SASH installations belong to the same extended family. Beverly Leary and her mother Martha live in one home, and just a couple of houses down, her nephew Jeremy Williams and his wife, Tatiana, live with their infant son.

“It is just amazing that we were all able to get solar power together,” Beverly said. Jeremy, holding his young son in his arms, laughed and said, “Solar power just bought him a new outfit.” He continued, “I have decided to give back and volunteer on other solar installations.”

For further information about SASH installations in the community, or GRID Alternatives, please visit their Web site or call 1-866-921-4696.

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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 PG&E Service Territory

Workshops in SCE Service Territory

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


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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 | © 2010 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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