2022 Solicitation Now Open
In 2021, TECH awarded the first round of Quick Start Grants to eleven recipients, described in the 2021 QSG Recipients section below. These projects will be implemented throughout 2022.
A second solicitation, for projects implemented in 2023, is now open until July 31.
Quick Start Grants Target Areas & Priorities
This second round of grants is seeking to engage more deeply in investigating ongoing challenges deploying heat pumps in low-income and energy burdened households and in historically underserved areas. While the solicitation is open to all types of projects and approaches to grow the market for heat pump space and water heating, this solicitation will place particular emphasis on identifying projects that fit into the following focus areas:
- Using heat pumps to lower household energy burden
- Improving the customer experience and satisfaction with heat pumps
- Helping customers plan for future fuel switching
- Innovative outreach, education, or marketing strategies
- Projects taking place in market segments that face formidable barriers to building electrification or that have been historically underserved by clean energy or energy efficiency programs, for example:
- Low-income households
- Disadvantaged communities
- Renters or multi-family housing
- Customers on unregulated fuels (e.g., wood or propane)
- Mobile or manufactured housing
- Customers whose primary language is not English
- Rural or remote communities
- Projects led or implemented by community-based organizations
In this round, up to $350,000 will be awarded per grant, with 6-12 grants likely. Project work should begin in January 2023 and must be completed within 16 months of contract award.
Applicants must use the downloadable application form to apply. Applicants will be expected to provide regular updates and a final report on their work. Selected projects will be subject to terms and conditions within the Quick Start Grant Recipient Agreement included on the webpage and in the Appendix of the downloadable application form.
Quick Start Grant Timeline
|May 30, 2022||2022 Quick Start Grant solicitation open|
|June 15, 2022||Informational webinar — register here.|
|June 30, 2022||Applicant questions due by 5:00 PM PDT|
|July 31, 2022||Applications due by 5:00 PM PDT|
|August 31, 2022||Finalists notified|
|September 19, 2022||Finalist interviews|
|September 30, 2022||Award decisions announced|
|January 1, 2023||Estimated start date for grant work|
To receive communications during the application period, register your interest via email to TECH.email@example.com with the subject line “Quick Start Grants – Intent to bid”.
Application Evaluation Rubric
|Criteria||Total Points Available|
|Firm is able to accept terms and conditions||Y/N|
|TOTAL MAXIMUM POINTS||110|
Questions and answers will be added on a rolling basis. Direct all questions via email to TECH.firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Quick Start Grants – Q&A” before 5:00 PM PDT on June 30, 2022.
- Can you clarify if eligible applicants must be in IOU electric or gas territory? Alameda Municipal Power provides electric service to City of Alameda customers, while PG&E provides gas service. Is the City of Alameda considered an eligible applicant? The project must occur within the gas service territory of at least one of the following California gas IOUs: PG&E, SoCalGas, and Southwest Gas. The home does not need to be a gas customer, but it must be in the participating gas company’s service territory. This is a restriction tied to the funding source of the TECH program overall.
- I’d like some clarification about the eligibility of multifamily projects. Is any size/kind of multifamily building eligible, including mixed use, or are you only looking at 4 or fewer units etc.? Quick Start Grants are limited to the residential sector, including both single and multifamily housing. For a mixed-use project, Quick Start Grant funds could support parts of the project serving the residential units.
- Are rural zoned agricultural lands eligible for the grant?
As with all TECH programs, the project must take place within a participating gas IOU territory. This is the only hard requirement.
- How will match funding or complementary activities be evaluated? There is no dedicated selection criteria that values matching or complimentary funds in this year. In general, using Quick Start Grant funding to add components to a project with other funding sources would be an interesting approach. For projects with multiple funding sources, please clarify why a Quick Start Grant is a necessary for the project to take place.
- Do cities qualify as applicants? Yes. There are no restrictions on the type of entity that can apply for funding. For entities with large budgets, like local governments or large corporations, please discuss in your application why a Quick Start Grant is a necessary funding source for the project.
- Are electric and propane sites ineligible for this grant? Projects funded by a Quick Start Grant must take place in the gas service territory of a California gas IOUs. However, beneficiaries of the project do not have to be gas customers and can be on unregulated fuels such as propane.
- Based on last year’s grants or other data that you have, how many applicants do you expect this year? Last year we received 33 applications and awarded a Quick Start Grant to 11 projects.
- Given the uncertainty around appliance incentives, how should applicants be putting together their budgets? To the best of your ability, please estimate any funding you would like to fund appliance incentives associated with your project. We are hopeful TECH incentives will be available again in 2023 and would reserve funds for QSG projects. If not, we will provide support for technology purchases from the QSG budget. If you have any questions about how to provide this info for your specific project, please reach out to us directly. Please spell out incentives as a specific line item in your budget.
- Is the funding targeted for homeowners only or is it open to rented units as well? Both are eligible. if proposing a project that will deal with rented properties, please discuss how you will address the risk of renters’ displacement.
- To clarify, you are looking for projects that address market barriers, and therefore not necessarily focused on resulting number of HP installations as a priority? It is fair to say that we are not necessarily looking for project resulting in the highest number of heat pumps sold but for projects taking a thoughtful approach to overcoming a barrier to heat pump deployment. Your pilot project can plan for a low number of households or installations, as long as you can demonstrate in your proposal that you will still be able to learn and evaluate the success of the your approach with a low number of households or installations.
- What percentage of the grant can be used for electrification readiness such as electrical upgrades and/or household safety hazard remediation? All of the grant funds could be used to that kind of work. Please explain in your application how this work will contribute to heat pump deployment in the future.
- Is it possible that you might take several submissions and revise them to be a single project that gets funded? No. We will evaluate proposals as submitted and each will be scored individually. When we reach out to finalists to invite them to present in person we will provide written feedback and questions in advance.
- You mentioned that the finalist will provide a presentation regarding their project. Will this be open for other applicants to listen into as well? Interviews will be part of the evaluation process, and like other evaluation materials, will not be public.
- Independent of this year’s grant process will you be sharing results and findings of the current grant projects? Yes, projects that were awarded a Quick Start Grant last year are being implemented right now. Results of their work will be available toward the end of the year.
- Is a project submission considered stronger if multiple partners are involved rather than just one entity submitting it? The number of partners involved in a project is not taken in consideration in the evaluation. However, if there is a particular community or area where a project will take place, demonstrating that the project was developed in collaboration with an organization that has a presence or is known in that community would strengthen an application.
- To clarify, will we be able to set a meeting before June 30 to get advice on our application? We are happy to meet before the June 30th deadline. Please send email to TECH.email@example.com. During that meeting, we will not provide direct coaching but will answer questions and can assess if your idea would be a good fit for a Quick Start Grant. Please note that the TECH team member you will meet with will not be evaluating your application.
- The last page of the application includes a contract with a “quick start grant recipient signature” do we need to have that signed prior to submission? Signatures can often take quite a bit of time to obtain from government agencies—if we could submit that after award that would be great. Applicants should read the Terms and Conditions to make sure they are acceptable, as this will be a condition of the grant award. The form does not need to be signed when submitting the application.
- Can you speak to encouraging CBOs to apply/participate on teams and how that plays into the evaluation process? CBO involvement is valued via the “energy equity” scoring rubric. Points will be given to projects where community-based organizations, project beneficiaries, or other groups with experience in the target community (1) are on the implementation team or (2) participate meaningfully in the pilot design.
- Can we use the grant for different types of properties in the same grant? Yes, there is no reason for us to exclude such projects.
- Can we use the grant for different types of priorities in the same grant? Yes, priorities are not mutually exclusive.
- For partnerships with groups serving disadvantaged communities, do those need to be longstanding or is it ok to be new? Partnerships with groups serving disadvantaged communities can be recent or new. We are interested in collaborative projects that advance “inclusive and accessible process for developing and implementing clean energy programs.”
- What are ideal uses of the grant funds, such as subsidizing costs to intended homes, or marketing/promotion costs, etc.? There is no ideal use of grant funds. An ideal use would be for a project where there are no existing sources to fund that type of project. Please also refer to our list of priorities and focus areas.
- Additional for those partnerships – do you have recommendations for how to identify such groups? Is there a single source of truth? We will not be able to play a formal match-making role. However, if you are looking for a partner, please feel free to email us and we may be able to provide recommendations or ideas.
- How many applications can a partner submit? It is possible to submit more than one application, but please keep in mind this will be a competitive process.
- How will you evaluate scalability? With this new solicitation, we are placing greater emphasis on two objectives for pilots we will fund: assessing scalability and generating lessons learned. We are less focused on how many installations will happen during the pilot period and more interested in (1) the kind of impact you think your product, service or program could have in the long run, (2) how your idea has the potential to scale and incorporate with California statewide strategy, and (3) how you will evaluate and generate learning during the pilot phase to answer these two questions.In applicants’ proposal we clearly want to see the approach taken to scaling, a clear pathway toward scale or the path and evaluation processes that will be implemented to determine the best approach to scale. When assessing scalability in proposals we will be looking at four main elements: (1) Does the proposed project discuss scalability? (2) Has the project demonstrated market potential and-or broad applicability within a specific market segment? (3) Does the project outline potential impact beyond the pilot period and how change will occur? (4) Does the proposal outline how the project could scale after the pilot phase or how scalability will be tested during the pilot to inform a post-pilot scaling strategy?
- Will Quick Start Grant recipients be able to reserve TECH appliance incentives for their project? To the best of your ability, please estimate any funding you would like to fund appliance incentives associated with your project. We are hopeful TECH incentives will be available again in 2023 and would reserve funds for QSG projects. If not, we will provide support for technology purchases from the QSG budget. If you have any questions about how to provide this info for your specific project, please reach out to us directly. Please spell out incentives as a specific line item in your budget.
- Are CCA customers eligible? Yes, as long as the home is with the territory of a participating gas IOU (PG&E, SoCalGas, and Southwest Gas).
- What is the role of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in this project? The CPUC administers the overall TECH Clean California program. Energy Solutions is the lead contractor under contract with the CPUC and works with a number of partner organizations to implement the program, including VEIC.
- Can the work by partners on TECH be leveraged by QSG applicants? Can they collaborate? QSG recipients can collaborate with TECH partner organizations. However, no QSG funding can flow to TECH partner organizations.
- Will there be a possibility of re-applying for funding next year? At this time, the Summer 2022 QSG solicitation will be the final year of the program.
- Would TECH consider providing funds for any of the following:
• Planning/Engineering for electrification beyond heat pumps for water heating and space heating (to avoid future rework) including: electric vehicle charging stations, induction cooktops, dryers
• Planning/Engineering for renewables and storage to improve cost-effectiveness and feasibility of electrification
• Implementation of any of the following: electrical infrastructure upgrades, electric vehicle charging stations, induction cooktops, dryers, solar, energy storage
• Economic analysis of heat pumps for space heating/water heating
• Economic analysis of additional electrification measures
• Induction cooktop (plug-in) loaner program.
TECH Clean California is fundamentally a market transformation program focused on heat pump space and water heating. Initiatives funded through the Quick Start Grant program should focus on solutions and interventions needed to scale the market for these specific technologies. While Quick Start Grant projects can certainly also incorporate technologies like induction cooking or EV charging stations, Quick Start Grant funding should be used only for aspects of the project that enable the installation of or grow the market for heat pump space and water heating. Other aspects of the project could be funded through a cost share.
- In the priority areas, contractor education, training and certification was not mentioned. While contractor training on best practices is important for customer experience and market acceptance of these products, it is not listed as a priority in the quick grants. Assuming the training supports the priorities, would this be well received by the evaluators? Yes, contractor education, training, and certification is a suitable topic area for a grant.
- Depending on gas rates and customer energy consumption profiles, heat pumps may increase energy costs especially for low- to moderate-income customers. Solar has been a barrier to participation for these customers due to cost and community perception from bad experiences. Is TECH supportive of testing solutions that incorporate renewables as a part of the grant? Yes, projects that incorporate renewables or distributed PV are eligible for a QSG. However, as TECH Clean California is focused on transforming the market for heat pump space and water heating, aspects of the project that are not directly related to these technologies (i.e. purchasing or installing solar panels) cannot be funded by QSG funding and should be funded through a project cost share.
- In Appendix: Quick State Grant Terms and Conditions, should bidders complete Quick State Grant Recipient Information and sign 3. Quick State Grant Recipient Terms and Requirements or are both to be completed after award? Bidders do not need to sign the Terms and Conditions, which will be completed after receiving an award. Please review the Terms and Conditions before applying to ensure they are acceptable to your organization were you to be offered a grant.
- Are local governments (as lead applicants) required to submit three references? If so, what type of references are preferred? All applicants are invited to submit three references to inform evaluations of the applicant’s qualifications and experience within the target community that would allow it to successfully carry out the proposed project. Partners the applicant has engaged with in the past, organizations identified as partners for the proposed project, or community groups or other stakeholders who support the project would be particularly relevant.
- Do all subcontractors need to be identified by name in the application, or may a grant recipient identify additional subcontractors as part of the implementation process? Successful applications will clearly demonstrate the project can be implemented within 12–16 months, starting January 2023. A proposal that does not identify subcontractors needed to implement the project may receive a lower score for the implementation plan, as the lack of solidified partnerships may raise questions about the project’s ability to begin implementation quickly. However, this may not be an issue if warranted by the idea to be tested—for example, if outreach or involvement of subcontractors in a design process is a key component of the pilot and associated theory of change.
- Are procurement and installation of electric appliances other than heat pumps (e.g., electric clothes dryers or cooktops) eligible costs? Unfortunately, no. TECH Clean California is fundamentally a market transformation program focused on heat pump space and water heating. While Quick Start Grant projects can certainly incorporate technologies like cooktops, Quick Start Grant funding should be used only for aspects of the project that enable the installation of or grow the market for heat pump space and water heating. Other aspects of the project such as the purchase of additional electric appliances could be funded through a cost share.
- I noted the listing of the past 11 awarded projects from the first round of awards, however, is there a list of the other ~22 other projects that weren’t awarded funding? Even just a general description and location? To me this would be very helpful as I finalize a couple of considerations for an application. I understand that just because it wasn’t awarded last round doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be awarded in the second round, however, if it’s clear an idea was submitted by several agencies and only one type like that was awarded and 6 other similar projects weren’t, then I’d rather find a more unique project or approach. Thank you for any information you can provide so I can focus on an application idea that will prove beneficial to the program and the parties represented in the grant. We are not able to share a complete list of applications received for the last round of funding. Many excellent ideas were not awarded funding simply because the solicitation was very competitive. The most common reasons why projects did not score high enough to receive funding were (1) the project type was not eligible (e.g. did not take place in the residential sector or in eligible gas IOU territory), (2) the project focused on development of an early-stage technology (e.g. product testing); (3) the project did not articulate a clear concept for statewide scaling (e.g. the product or approach funded by the QSG would be owned by a private company, and could not later be deployed widely by a public entity); and (4) the project was duplicative of existing initiatives in California.
Beyond the priority areas listed in the solicitation, no particular ideas are preferred by the TECH team. Please keep in mind that the selection of final awardees will be based both on proposal scoring and on the available budget in each IOU’s service territory.
- For the milestones, by when are projects expected or required to be completed? Quick Start Grants must be implemented within 12-16 months, starting in January 2023.
- What is “Incentive Data Entry Contact”? If your project plans to incorporate TECH incentives for heat pump appliances, please provide the name of a contact person who can work with the TECH team to manage data entry and incentive processing.
- Is a concept’s ability to scale nationally valuable in how Quick Start Grant applications are evaluated? Since the TECH program’s funding is from the State of California, a concept’s ability to scale within the California market is more relevant to how we view Quick Start Grant scalability.
- With the focus on underserved communities, is the ability to have an indirect impact on an underserved community sufficient? Indirect impacts will be considered, but the credibility of how likely any intermediate steps are to take place will affect how they are evaluated.
- The equity focus seems to emphasize geographic areas served rather than experience working with low-income programs or understanding of barriers in underserved populations. Do these kinds of expertise also count toward the equity priority? We are applying multiple lenses within the equity criteria. For “Equitable benefits” an organization’s experience and expertise with low-income programs/populations generally is relevant. For “Inclusive processes” a more geographic focus of direct engagement with a community applies.
- If a project still needs to acquire additional funding beyond the Quick Start Grant, can it still apply for Quick Start Grant funding? Projects that still need to acquire additional funding should articulate what the prospects are and where they are in that process and should provide contingency plans for how the Quick Start Grant funds could be applied if additional funds do not come through.
Links & Resources
(due by 5:00 PM PDT on July 31, 2022)
Download the slide deck from the informatioanl webinar on June 15, 2022
A key initiative of TECH Clean California is to deploy pilot programs that test solutions to market barriers impeding the adoption of heat pump space and water heating in single- and multifamily homes. The Quick Start Grant (QSG) incentive program aims to find and fund targeted, innovative pilots that test approaches to overcoming these barriers—for example, projects that help contractors find suitable customers, that make installations faster, or that improve the value proposition of heat pumps for residents. In testing these targeted market transformation strategies and approaches, the QSG program aims to promote the development and refinement of interventions that can be scaled into statewide solutions.
2021 QSG Recipients
Here are the first round of projects that have received funding for their innovative approaches to accelerating heat pump adoption. New funding opportunities will be announced in Spring 2022.
AESC will install Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) in 10 mobile or manufactured homes in high-poverty areas and study the impact on residents’ air conditioning needs and costs.
Barnett Plumbing will provide temporary gas water heaters to their customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties who need short-term source of hot water while infrastructure for fuel switching to a HPWH is prepared.
Bloc Power + City of San Luis Obispo will collaborate to retrofit 10-12 affordable multi-family housing units in San Luis Obispo with HPWH and Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) and will establish a Community Advisory Board to engage community members and develop a communications plan.
Franklin Energy will complete home repairs in the Northern Bay Area that have prevented electrification in an existing Marin Clean Energy (MCE) low-income retrofit program.
Institute of Heating and Air Conditioning Industries (IHACI) will train 10 contractors in the use of their Visual Service software, which enables master installers to remotely supervise multiple field technicians through a video platform linked to wireless diagnostic tools.
New Buildings Institute will enroll 32 sites in a field test of emerging 120V HPWH technology.
Redwood Coast Energy Authority will expand outreach and electrification support to rural and Native American communities in Humboldt County that currently rely on unregulated fuels and now qualify for TECH incentives.
Revalue.io will remediate home health hazards or code violations in low-income West Oakland households through electrification and will provide training to contractors and apprentices to improve the diversity of the local HVAC workforce.
Small Planet Supply will install a packaged, natural refrigerant central heat pump boiler in a 40-unit low-income farmworker community in Delano, CA to test the viability of this novel, easy-to-install solution for other similar buildings.
The Energy Coalition will incorporate HPWHs into an EPIC grant-funded solar + storage pilot in a low-income advanced energy community in Bassett and Avocado Heights, CA, and evaluate scalable electrification solutions for traditionally underserved communities.
USGBC-LA will install HPWHs and ASHPs in 10 naturally-occurring affordable housing units in Eastern San Fernando Valley, CA and add heat pumps to an education and outreach program.
Other Funding Sources
The following list provides examples and information about other funding programs that might support similar work to the Quick Start Grants. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, and not all QSG applicants will be eligible for all funding sources.
|Electric Program Investment Charge Program – EPIC
California Energy Commission (80%), PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E (20%)
|The California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program invests in scientific and technological research to accelerate the transformation of the electricity sector to meet the state’s energy and climate goals.|
| California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative (CalSEED)
New Energy Nexus, California Energy Commission
|The California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development Initiative (CalSEED) is a $24m grant program created to help early stage California clean energy startups bring their concepts and prototypes to market.|
|Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
Depts. Of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, HHS, Homeland Security, Transportation, EPA, NASA, and NSF
|The SBIR and STTR programs fund a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, meet Federal research and development (R&D) needs, and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact.|
|Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices (BEETIT)
ARPA-E, Dept. of Energy
|The projects that comprise ARPA-E’s BEETIT program, short for “Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices,” are developing new approaches and technologies for building cooling equipment and air conditioners. These projects aim to drastically improve building energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) at a cost comparable to current technologies.|
|Advanced Building Construction Initiative
Dept. of Energy
|The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Building Construction Initiative will help ensure that ongoing innovation in the construction industry incorporates energy-efficiency technologies for superior building performance. By working with stakeholders from across the buildings industry, the ABC Initiative will ensure that greater construction productivity also leads to buildings that are smarter, healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more responsive to the needs of their occupants.|
|Community Reinvestment Grant
Clean Power Alliance
|As part of its ongoing commitment to local communities, energy equity and diversity, and environmental stewardship, Calpine Energy Solutions is pleased to provide local financial support through its Community Benefits Program in partnership with Clean Power Alliance (CPA). Qualifying entities must be IRS designated 501(c)3 non-profit organizations located in/serving CPA’s service territory.|
|Municipal Electrification Assistance
East Bay Community Energy
|The Municipal Electrification Assistance (MEA) program supports EBCE’s member cities and school districts in meeting their climate goals by transitioning buildings from on-site fossil fuel combustion to clean electricity. The program provides technical assistance or gap funding (up to $10,000) to get member agency or district projects over the finish line.|
|Emerging Technologies Grant Program
Silicon Valley Power
|SVP will provide grants to customers who implement exceptionally creative uses of energy technology. Funding will be used for projects that demonstrate new products and product applications not yet commercially viable in today’s marketplace; install energy efficient technologies not generally known or widely accepted, yet show potential for successful market growth; successfully apply energy efficiency solutions in new ways; or introduce energy efficiency into industries or businesses that are resistant to adopting new technologies or practices.|
|Energy Partnership Program
California Energy Commission
|The California Energy Commission’s Energy Partnership Program offers services to help identify the most cost-effective, energy-saving opportunities for buildings and new construction. Cost-saving measures are needed with shrinking budgets and increasing operating costs. Reducing energy costs is one way to save money.|
|Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize
U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED)
|The upcoming Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will provide cash prizes ($2.5 million total) to groups and organizations to support entrepreneurship and innovation in communities historically underrepresented and underserved in the energy sector.|