In This Issue
As the CSI Program moves along in its fourth year, the Program Administrators (PAs) continue to streamline the process and make improvements in its operation. However, this latest round of CSI Program Handbook changes goes beyond minor process changes to reflect the PAs’ strong position on consumer protection with new cost-validation measures and consequences for contractors that do not pass inspections. The June 2010 edition of the CSI Handbook has been released, and highlights of some key changes include:
As of June 21, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has enough applications under review to reach capacity for Step 7 nonresidential incentives. Since the last step change in April 2010, PG&E has received a record number of applications, accounting for over 63 MW of reservation requests. This is an extraordinary accomplishment in such a short amount of time.
While the exact cut-off date has not been determined, PG&E encourages you to submit your complete application package with all required documentation for any potential projects as soon as possible. In addition, please let PG&E know if you have any reserved or currently under review nonresidential applications that are no longer proceeding and need to be canceled. This will allow PG&E to put more megawatts back into Step 7 and maximize this step.
“Some projects do legitimately cost more, such as installations on historic buildings or those that require additional equipment to connect panels,” said CSI Program Supervisor Molly Sterkel. “If such a justification exists, program administrators may waive the soft cap.”
Details of the new pricing policy are found in section 3.4.1 of the June 2010 CSI Program Handbook.
Read more in the San Francisco Business Times.
The first Californian to receive an incentive through the CSI Thermal residential program launched in May is Cecilia Collados of Walnut Creek, Calif., in the Pacific Gas & Electric service territory. She received a rebate of $1,440 and reports she is very pleased with the new solar water heating system.
Collados explained that the new program helped her make the decision to go solar: “I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and the incentive is one of the things I considered since this is a pretty big investment.”
Another important factor that swayed Collados is that she is an energy-conscience consumer who is concerned about the environment and this was a way for her to do her part. With the new system, she will displace an estimated 117 therms a year for her 2,500-square-foot home.
Click here to learn more about the CSI Thermal program.
The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) recently issued tips for consumers to protect themselves from solar energy scammers in a press release. The CSLB’s concern is that as more consumers want to “go green” and take advantage of solar rebates and tax credits, they could be victimized by unlicensed, unscrupulous or unaware contractors.
"Take a few minutes to research contractors by using the Instant License Check and other helpful tools on CSLB’s Web site," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "Legitimate, licensed contractors want customers to be comfortable and confident with the contracts they are signing. And licensees are more likely to do all that is required in order to receive available state and federal incentives for alternative energy."
To read the complete news release, go to the CSLB newsroom.
Twenty-five contractors successfully completed PG&E’s PowerPathway™ solar water heating installation training over the course of six days in June at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif.
The first of several solar PV installations slated for homes owned by members of the Habematolel Pomo Tribe in Upper Lake, Calif., was completed in June as part of CSI’s Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program administered by GRID Alternatives. The Tribe of nearly 200 members currently has contracts in place with GRID Alternatives to install PV systems for six households in partnership with Sun Kiss Solar.
In addition to generating clean power and reducing electricity costs for low-income tribal families, the project has the additional benefit of creating job opportunities and workforce training in a community that has unemployment rates some 40% higher than the rest of California. Each SASH installation in tribal lands will hire trainees from the local area, enabling community members to develop job skills in the solar field.
If you are interested in learning more about the SASH Program please visit www.gridalternatives.org or call (510) 652-4730.
On Saturday, June 12, GRID Alternatives hosted the Greater Los Angeles Solarthon event in the Piru community of Ventura County, during which teams of volunteers, job trainees and individual and corporate work crews installed solar PV systems for eight low-income families in one neighborhood, all in one day.
Nearly 100 people participated in the solar block party in the Piru neighborhood where 17 of 22 homes now have solar under CSI’s Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program administered by GRID Alternatives – and more SASH-qualified homeowners have scheduled future installations.
During the event, 12 job trainees from area green-jobs development organizations received valuable on-the-job solar training through their participation.GRID Alternatives would like to thank its volunteers, sponsors, job trainees, work crews, homeowners and staff for making the Greater Los Angeles Solarthon a success.
GRID Alternatives is planning three more Solarthon events throughout the state:
Bay Area – Saturday, July 31, West Oakland
If you’d like to participate in Solarthon or would like more information on the SASH Program, visit GRID Alternative’s Web site or call (510) 652-4730.
San Diego Solar Industry Focus Group Convenes
Representatives from all sectors of the local solar industry were in attendance, contributing to a constructive and robust discussion. Benjamin Airth, CCSE’s CSI residential program manager, began the meeting by displaying current CSI data in the San Diego region and discussing the marketing and education efforts of CCSE.
Sue Kateley of CalSEIA provided information and insight about current and upcoming solar policies and urged all in attendance to join CalSEIA. One of the purposes of the meeting was to promote a San Diego CalSEIA chapter. Enthusiastic discussion continued during a reception after the meeting. Next month’s meeting will focus on solar financing issues, with representatives from local financial institutions.
Visit the Go Solar, California! Booth at Intersolar
SolarDay 2010 Celebrated in San Diego
The San Diego event included workshops on solar water heating, solar PV for homeowners and how to pick a solar contractor presented by members of CCSE’s CSI team. A panel of solar homeowners discussed important energy efficiency measures they took before going solar, the benefits of a solar system and their experiences working with contractors and the CSI program. Visitors also toured CCSE’s Energy Resource Center to view energy-related equipment, products, hands-on displays and interactive kiosks.
This is the first SolarDay hosted by CCSE, but with its success, CCSE plans to celebrate SolarDay again next year.
PowerClerk Upgrades Save Contractors Time and Money
PowerClerk now allows users to upload all of the supporting documents right into the tool, making the application process paperless on the administrator side. The upload feature not only saves paper and postage but also many hours on both sides of the application submittal process.
Any applicants not currently using this online upload feature are encouraged to experience its benefits. If you have any questions regarding PowerClerk, please contact the CSI PA in your service territory or click here.
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings by Program Territory
New Solar Homes Partnership Training Workshops
Call for Photos of CSI-Funded Solar Systems
Submit your CSI-funded solar system photos here.
|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.|
|California Public Utilities Commission|
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San Francisco, California 94102