As part of Go Solar California’s $3.3 billion ratepayer-funded effort to transform California’s solar market, the California Solar Initiative (CSI) established an ambitious objective of installing 1,750 MW of distributed solar capacity by 2016. To achieve this goal, the program provides consumers within the PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E service territories with upfront financial incentives for solar systems. Energy Solutions has provided systems integration, software development, program coordination, and data analysis and reporting services to CSI since 2007.
The CSI program administrators, CCSE, PG&E, and SCE, with oversight from the CPUC, engaged Energy Solutions to craft the technical specifications and manage the implementation of the program’s online rebate application system. With its expertise in information processing and software development, Energy Solutions provided the program’s administrators with the tools to effectively manage their massive solar incentive program. The program has provided rebates to over 36,000 applicants to date, resulting in 387 MW of installed solar capacity, with a downward trend in system costs. The California Solar Initiative has achieved almost half its MW goal, only 3 years into the 10 year program.
Critical to renewable energy rebate programs achieving their sustainability-driven goals is the ability to engage public participation and manage and report program information in a structured way. Program administrators generally confront a number of program participation and data management-related challenges:
- Large-scale, rebate-driven renewable and energy efficiency efforts require application management systems that are both powerful and adaptive.
- Ratepayer funded programs call for the ability to accurately track and report performance data to the public.
- Multiple program administrators have varied needs, yet overlapping objectives.
- Paper-based rebate application processes are potentially cumbersome, which can discourage program participation.
Energy Solutions worked closely with the software developer to craft the online rebate application system’s technical specifications to suit the needs of the multiple program administrators. To ensure a smooth rollout, Energy Solutions directed the online system’s implementation process, providing testing, training and coordination services to the developer, administrators, and solar installers. Now in use program-wide, Energy Solutions continues to support the application processing system across the three California Investor-owned Utility territories.
Applicants are able to smoothly submit applications, and program administrators are able to effectively manage the flow of applications through the online system. The more quickly applications are processed, the more quickly solar systems get connected to the grid. Energy Solutions also designed and developed the program’s official public reporting site, which provides the public with accurate, real-time program performance statistics, www.CaliforniaSolarStatistics.ca.gov.
By facilitating overall CSI program success through the online application process, Energy Solutions is helping move California toward a cleaner energy future.
Energy Solutions’ comprehensive software development and management capabilities, systems integration, and program coordination has helped the California Solar Initiative make impressive headway towards achieving program goals. Benefits to the program include:
- Reducing administrative costs and facilitating participation – The online application system resulted in greatly reduced processing time.
- Delivering transparent, simple reporting – The data reporting and analysis tools allow for enhanced program planning and performance evaluation.
- Minimizing the program’s environmental footprint – Over 100,000 documents have been uploaded to the online system, avoiding lifecycle environmental externalities associated with submitting paper applications.