|California Solar Initiative ( CSI) Newsletter - April 2008|
In This Issue
Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems!
The California Solar Initiative continues to capture national attention as homeowners and businesses take the lead and go solar! This month's feature installation comes from the Long Beach Airport, whose 6.696 DC kW series of solar trees demonstrates the effectiveness and utility of alternative mounting technologies.
Southern California Edison will host the next quarterly California Solar Initiative Public Forum in Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
CPUC Issues April 2008 Staff Progress Report
On April 14, 2008, the CPUC issued the latest California Solar Initiative Staff Progress Report. In addition to regular statistical updates, this report features program administration metrics, showing how efficiently applications are processed, and administrative cost effectiveness.
EPBB Calculator Modification Now Uses Temperature Effect as Standard
As of March 2008, the EPBB calculator was modified to include the effects of temperature on PV system performance based on a previous CPUC decision to include Building Integrated Photovoltaics ( BIPV) into the Expected Performance Based Buydown ( EPBB) program. In order to compute the difference between a BIPV system and a roof or rack mounted system, the inclusion of cell temperature impacts on performance were required. The initial modification caused some unanticipated consequences -- primarily, the new calculation adjusted the formerly untouchable CEC- AC value. Revisions to the calculator are currently being tested by an industry focus group. Once completed, the revised EPBB will be released again with the CEC- AC value remaining the same as previous EPBB calculations; however, the design factor will adjust based on the temperature impacts. This change will enable better consistency with CSI applications, utility interconnections, and industry practices reliant upon the CEC- AC value.
This month, more than 470,000 SDG&E residential customers will open their mailboxes to find some sunny news about going solar, as CCSE prepares a targeted mail campaign in support of the California Solar Initiative. The mailer focuses on benefits to homeowners in the highest electric rate tiers, for whom solar makes real economic sense. As part of the CSI program's Interim Marketing and Outreach Decision, CSI Program Administrators around the state will launch similar marketing campaigns in 2008, including introduction of new consumer materials, attendance at major solar conferences, and monthly solar workshops around the state for both residents and installers. If you're an installer or solar professional in the San Diego area, then prepare to take advantage of the opportunity to drive home the benefits of going solar as more and more potential consumers are exposed to solar messaging through direct mail, bill inserts, news features, radio tags, and public service announcements.
The annual American Solar Energy Society (ASES) conference "SOLAR 2008" will be held in San Diego on May 3-8, hosting more than 175 of the world's leading experts in solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable energy technologies. Often touted as a technology-rich academic conference, SOLAR 2008 offers workshops, presentations, tours, and demonstrations to help individuals and institutions identify industry trends, network with other professionals, and discover how to leverage opportunities the industry provides. Headliners include Senator Gary Hart (author & former Presidential candidate); Jigar Shah (Chief Strategy Office, SunEdison); Van Jones (national expert on green collar jobs); Chris Paine (Director, Who Killed the Electric Car); Molly Tirpak Sterkel ( CPUC Project Supervisor, California Solar Initiative); and Edward Mazria (international expert of passive solar energy).Stop by the California Solar Initiative booth for the latest program materials, including fact sheets, progress reports, and an opportunity to be featured in an impromptu interview for use in future CSI publications.
For more information visit www.solar2008.org.
CCSE and CALSEIA jointly submitted a Petition for Modification to the CPUC on the Solar Water Heating Pilot Program on Thursday, April 4, 2008. The pilot program is currently in operation in SDG&E service territory. The petition requests modification to a prior CPUC order so that the pilot can be expanded statewide and extended six months past the original program end date of December 31, 2008. Parties have until April 24th to comment on the petition for modification.
>> click here for a copy of the petition for modification on the Solar Hot Water Pilot Program.
SCE Moves to Step 5 in Nonresidential Sector
On March 26, 2008, SCE announced that it had moved to the Step 5 incentive level in its Non-Residential sector. The revised 42.74 MW in SCE's Step 4 reflected 2.64 MW from drop outs in Steps 1 and 3. By performing due diligence in its application processing, SCE was able to ensure that customers with completed applications gained the maximal incentive possible before the decline to Step 5.
In mid March, PG&E announced that it had moved to the Step 4 incentive level for residential applications. All applications received by PG&E after March 14 will be in Step 4, and PG&E is sending communications to those Applicants to determine if they would like to continue with their projects. Earlier in January, PG&E moved to Step 5 for the non-residential sector. According to Andrew Yip, Supervisor at PG&E, "We are still seeing a steady flow of applications for non-residential. However, at this time it is too early to draw any conclusions on the impact of the step change for residential."
The first quarter of 2008 for PG&E was the second busiest quarter for reservations received and the busiest quarter for incentive claims being processed and checks sent -- sending well over 1400 incentives for payment. "We were really busy…," stated Kristi Patterson, Supervisor at PG&E. "But, with the combination of new staff and some process improvements, we were able to decrease application management time during this busy period and improve the time to get incentive payments out."
The California Solar Initiative Trigger Tracker provides an indicator of when the CSI incentive levels are expected to drop by showing the reservation and review status of all incentive classes. This snapshot compares the megawatts remaining in each step with the megawatts under review, so that users can estimate how close the incentives are to declining. When there are more megawatts under review than remaining in the step, then it may be probable that any new applications will be at the next (i.e. LOWER) incentive step level.
PG&E Issues RFP to Hire Program Manager for CSI's Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) Program
On April 1, 2008, PG&E, on behalf of the California Solar Initiative, issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a CSI RD&D Program Manager. The RFP was called for in the September 2007 Decision, which adopted a plan to allocate $50 million for Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) to further the goals of the CSI.. The RD&D Program Manager will work with the California Public Utilities Commission on all aspects of the RD&D Program, from strategy development, to project solicitation and evaluation, funding recommendation, report preparation and periodic evaluation of the projects and program costs. The RD&D Program Manager will also oversee the day-to-day operations of the CSI RD&D Program.
To register to participate in the CSI RD&D Program Manager Request for Proposal, please visit http://www.PowerAdvocate.com and select the "Register" option. Enter and submit your user information. Enter "Pacific Gas and Electric Company" in the "Company Name" field and "Roy Green" and the "California Solar Initiative" in the "Who referred you and what bid event" field. This posting is also available on PG&E's web site, http://www.pge.com/b2b/purchasing/bidopportunities/.
On March 28th, 2008, the CSI Program Administrators filed an Advice Letter with the Commission with a plan to develop a testing standard to certify the accuracy of inverter-integrated meters to +/-5%. This first-of-a-kind effort will ensure the accuracy of all EPBB systems participating in the CSI program. The plan was developed by representatives from a broad spectrum of meter and solar industry stakeholders, as well as regulators. This is the first ever effort to certify the accuracy of inverter meters and is intended to serve as the model for national and international inverter meter accuracy standards. In addition to the CSI program, certification of inverter meters may also lead to more cost-effective metering solutions to allow residential and small commercial solar customers to participate in Renewable Energy Credit trading programs.
>>click here to view the Advice Letter.
Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems!
Each month, the newsletter will feature a photo of a CSI-funded solar installation. This month's featured installation is a 6.696 DC kW "grove" of solar trees at the Long Beach Airport, funded by EcoMedia and installed by SunTrek Industries. The oldest municipal airport in the country, Long Beach Airport is also a historical landmark. But this didn't sway them from adopting modern technologies. According to airport Director, Christine Andersen, "Even though we are a historical landmark, we are committed to using new and innovative technologies to integrate environmental practices into our facility." This demonstration project was energized on March 12, 2008, featuring bifacial panels and sun trackers to optimize generation.
The CSI newsletter seeks photos of solar systems installed under the CSI program. The program may use the photos in the next newsletter or other CSI-related publicity, such as brochures, presentations, or other marketing materials. When submitting solar PV system photos, please provide the following: name of photographer; name of installer; name of seller or system owner; system size and location; and full permission to use photo in CSI-related publicity.
to submit your photos (or preferably a link to online photos) to the CPUC newsletter.
Mark Your Calendar
Commercial Solar Economics & Financing
CSI Public Forum
Victoria Gardens Cultural Center
Pacific Energy Center
Introduction to the California Solar Initiative
For more information, please call 1 (800) 336-2822.