In This Issue
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Call for Photos and Stories of CSI-Funded Solar Systems