In This Issue
As 2012 gets under way, many homeowners and business owners in California will be looking for information on how to save money on their taxes through sustainability investments.
In order to help interpret this complex and often confusing landscape of tax rules and regulations, the California Center for Sustainable Energy ( CCSE) has scheduled a workshop with tax professional Walter Wang, founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, on Jan. 31. Wang will provide information on federal and state tax codes and how they could impact consumer decisions regarding renewable energy and other clean-tech investments. For information on the workshop or to register, click here.
The California Center for Sustainable Energy ( CCSE) has published guidelines for the acceptance of electronic signatures used on California Solar Initiative documentation. Electronic signatures can greatly improve the speed and efficiency at which contractors can complete the CSI incentive process and potentially save significant time and money for these companies. For a copy of the guidelines, click here.
CCSE plans to hold a series of workshops to introduce contractors to the electronic signature technology and to answer any questions regarding the guidelines and take feedback from the industry.
PG&E Moves to Step 10 for Nonresidential Applications
As a result of the California Public Utilities Commission decision in December to approve the increase in the California Solar Initiative budget, Pacific Gas & Electric ( PG&E) removed all previously waitlisted projects to the CSI reservation queue. Due to the large number of reservation requests, PG&E has enough reservations in our nonresidential reservation queue to meet our Step 8 and Step 9 megawatt capacities and move to Step 10. Please note that our current step may change due to cancellations. In order to maximize our Step 8 and 9 capacities, we ask that applicants contact us immediately if a project is not moving forward. For current step information, please visit the Trigger Tracker. PG&E thanks customers for their patience as we work through the extensive list of projects.
SASH Program Promotes Employment in Solar
Norm Graham found himself looking for a new career path after his job in the biotech industry was downsized with the shifting economy. He drew upon his memories of traveling the world as a U.S. Navy chief, recalling how other countries embraced renewable energy systems.
"Living in Japan, you see how everything they do is based on saving something, whether it's energy, water or other resources," Graham said. "Every other house in Japan had solar panels. I thought 'why can't we have that here in America?'" Seeing the growth forecasts for solar jobs by The Solar Foundation and other sources, he enrolled in solar energy classes to learn new skills.
However, Graham encountered the dilemma of many new solar installers – it's challenging to get a first job without experience, and getting experience is difficult without that first job.
Graham volunteer with GRID Alternatives to gain hands-on experience and broadened his knowledge of photovoltaic systems. He trained to become a GRID Alternatives team leader and gained 376 hours of work experience on nearly 50 installations across Southern California. Within months of volunteering, Graham was offered a position at SunUp Energy. He comments, "The impact of working with GRID Alternatives multiplies. Because GRID installs statewide, you learn to install to a very high standard."
Through GRID Alternatives and the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes ( SASH) Program thousands of people like Graham have the opportunity to gain real-world experience in solar. Read more about workforce development efforts at GRID Alternatives by clicking here.
A CSI-Thermal statewide marketing campaign is set for launch in late April. The initial rollout will include radio and TV spots in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego areas and a series of targeted online advertisements that will run throughout the state. The goal of the campaign is to help increase public awareness of solar water heating, particularly among green consumers, and to promote the value of CSI-Thermal rebates.
The CSI-Thermal Program Administrators are working with Fraser Communications in Los Angeles to develop and design the marketing and outreach themes and materials. In addition to advertising, CSI-Thermal participation in local and statewide events will promote the visibility of the technology and the program via direct customer engagement. More details about the campaign will be coming, but solar water heating contractors should be considering what marketing steps they might want to take during this statewide effort.
Call for Photos and Stories of CSI-Funded Solar Systems