Request for Comments on the First DRAFT Solicitation for the California Solar Initiative Research, Demonstration, and Deployment Program

Background and Purpose

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) is a statewide incentive program that aims to build a self-sustaining solar electricity market.  The CSI has a goal of creating 1940 MW of new, solar-produced electricity in California by 2017 (and 3,000 MW on a statewide-basis).  The CSI was authorized in 2006 by Senate Bill (SB) 1 (Murray) and subsequently enacted through California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Rulemaking (R.) 06-03-004. Pursuant to SB 1, the CPUC allocated $50 million for a Solar Research, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD&D) Program.  Within the Solar RD&D Program, grant funding is further allocated into three target areas:

  1. Production technologies
  2. Grid integration
  3. Business development and deployment

The CPUC Energy Division, through its Program Manager, Itron, is making available a draft version of the first Grant Funding Solicitation for the CSI Solar RD&D Program.  The purpose of this notice is to seek comment and feedback from interested stakeholders on the draft solicitation document.  This first solicitation will focus on integration of photovoltaics (PV) into the utility grid and focuses on the following activities:

  1. Planning and modeling for high-penetration PV
  2. Testing and development of hardware and software for high-penetration PV
  3. Addressing the near term integration of energy efficiency, demand response and storage along with PV.

Solicitation Summary

Up to $15 million in funding is available through this solicitation.  Any individual, business, public entity, non-profit institution, university, or national laboratory is eligible to apply for funding.  Award amounts will range from $200,000, up to $3 million, with a minimum of 50% match-funding required for each project.  The draft solicitation provides the information needed to complete an application package for CSI RD&D funding.

The draft solicitation contains the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Priority Areas and Targets for this solicitation
  • Proposal and Submittal Requirements
  • Proposal Screening, Review and Selection criteria and process.

To view the Draft Grant Solicitation please go to:

Submitting Comments

The draft of the first CSI RD&D Grant Solicitation is posted on the CalSolarResearch.ca.gov website and is now available for review and comment.  All comments should be submitted through the website using the online comments form. To submit comments, please go to: http://www.calsolarresearch.ca.gov/submit-your-comments.html

Comments will be accepted from now through June 18, 2009.

Finalizing and Releasing the Solicitation

The CPUC staff will review all comments posted and provide direction to the Program Administrator on changes and modifications.  The solicitation will be finalized and released for possible applications around July 7, 2009.

Key Principles of the Solar RD&D Program

SB 1, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in August 2006 , authorizes the CPUC to allocate $50 million of the CSI funds for research, demonstration, and deployment of solar technologies.  The CPUC adopted the CSI Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment Plan  which lays out the seven key principles that the CSI RD&D Program must adhere to:

  1. Improve the economics of solar technologies by reducing technology costs and increasing system performance;
  2. Focus on issues that directly benefit California, and that may not be funded by others;
  3. Fill knowledge gaps to enable successful, wide-scale deployment of solar distributed generation technologies;
  4. Overcome significant barriers to technology adoption;
  5. Take advantage of California's wealth of data from past, current, and future installations to fulfill the above;
  6. Provide bridge funding to help promising solar technologies transition from a pre-commercial state to full commercial viability; and
  7. Support efforts to address the integration of distributed solar power into the grid in order to maximize its value to California ratepayers.

For more information on the CSI RD&D Program, please visit the CPUC's website at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Solar/rdd.htm

For more information on California's Solar Programs administered by the CPUC and the California Energy Commission, please visit the Go Solar Website at: http://www.gosolarcalifornia.com/