California Assembly Passes Bill To Extend Solar Thermal Incentives

By Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine

By a vote of 48 to 22, the California State Assembly has passed A.B.797, a bill that would extend consumer incentives for solar thermal technologies. According to the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), the bill is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce natural gas use, meet greenhouse-gas reduction goals and support economic development. It now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

“I am pleased the Assembly took the important step of passing this bill and sending it to the Senate,” says Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, author of the bill. “Using California’s warm sunshine to do something as simple as heating water is sensible for our state and a key way to protect public health, clean up our air, and support local jobs.”

The largest markets for solar thermal technologies, such as solar water heaters, are multi-family housing buildings and commercial swimming pools, such as at schools and community centers. According to CALSEIA, a typical residential solar hot water system can help homeowners reduce up to 80% of their natural gas use for water heating, and costs around $7,500. Under the program extended by A.B.797, consumers would receive a rebate that can be coupled with the 30% federal tax credit to reduce the overall cost of the system.

The bill reported out of the Assembly would extend the existing California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal program for two years to 2020, continuing the program seamlessly. CALSEIA says the California solar thermal market is growing, especially in the multifamily housing sector – with 32% annual growth between 2015 and 2016 in natural gas savings. The bill would also target significant resources for solar thermal on low-income housing and buildings in disadvantaged communities.

“To meet our statewide climate change goals, especially on the heating side of the equation, we need consistent programs that increase access to the sun for California homes and businesses,” comments Kelly Knutsen, senior policy advisor of CALSEIA, co-sponsor of A.B.797. “We thank Assembly member Irwin for her strong leadership on this important issue.”

“There’s no better way to heat our water than by the sun, and A.B.797 is critically needed to promote the continued growth of solar heating technologies,” adds Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California, the other co-sponsor of the bill. “The CSI-Thermal program is an essential part of how we can meet the challenges of our heavy natural gas use and, at the same time, further the state’s greenhouse-gas emission reduction goals.”

According to CALSEIA, solar thermal projects installed under the CSI-Thermal program reduced natural gas use across the state by over 5.6 million therms each year, equal to the annual amount of natural gas used to heat water for roughly 31,500 homes. The program has offset over 30,000 metric tons of CO2(eq) annually, comparable to taking over 6,400 cars off the road each year, the group adds.



Ready For California’s Biggest-Ever Solar & Storage Exhibition?

By Aisha Abdelhamid, Clean Technica

With over 18,000 visitors expected at this year’s solar industry networking events in San Francisco, the July 11 through July 13, 2017, Intersolar North America exhibition and conference will be the most-attended solar-plus-storage event in the United States.

Since establishment in 2008, Intersolar North America takes place annually at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, “in the heart of the United States’ pioneering solar market.”

This not-to-be-missed event will commemorate Intersolar North America’s 10th anniversary in conjunction with its longtime event partner, California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).

One of the Biggest Renewable Energy Events in 2017

Co-located with Intersolar North America, Electrical Energy Storage North America(ees) will bring together more than 18,000 professionals from the fast-growing energy storage and solar energy industries. ees host exhibitions and conference events focusing on renewable energy storage solutions, from residential and commercial applications to large-scale storage systems designed to stabilize the power grids. Other topics to be featured include energy management, electric transportation, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

In addition to Intersolar North America, ees North America is also co-located with SEMICON West at Moscone Center, bringing professionals from the solar, storage, and semiconductor industries together all within one week and in one city.

This engaging conference features 210+ speakers, with over 70 workshops covering solar, storage, microgrids, policy, finance, installation, and future innovation. Not only will you have a chance to learn from industry experts across the solar and storage industries, there is a range of outside activities too! InterSolar and ees are offering unique and fun diversions like daily Tesla factory tours, a sailing tour of San Francisco Bay, a solar winery tour, and, of course, the biggest solar party of the year, Solar Summerfest.

Summerfest will be held at beautiful AT&T Park and will take place on the same night as the MLB All-Star Game, which will be broadcast live on the jumbotron for all to enjoy. The event will offer special tours of AT&T park, special use of the batting cages, custom photobooth baseball trading cards, hosted food and drink stations, and much more!

AWARD Presentations for Exciting Solar & Storage Innovations

Focusing on the innovative technologies and services that make solar power successful worldwide now and into the future, this year marks the 10th anniversary of Intersolar’s flagship AWARD.

The 4th annual ees AWARD presentation will also take place at this year’s exhibition in San Francisco. Recognizing innovative storage solutions driving the energy storage transition, all exhibiting companies from the full value chain of battery and storage technologies are eligible to compete for the prestigious ees AWARD.

Florian Wessendorf, managing director of Solar Promotion International, states, “Our AWARD is a testament to the market’s evolution and highlights the cutting edge of energy storage innovation happening across America and the rest of the world.”


California Energy Storage Rebate Bill Advances In Senate

By Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine

The California Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee approved a bill last week that would require the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to establish an Energy Storage Initiative that provides rebates for the installation of energy storage systems.

S.B.700, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would mandate that California utilities create an Energy Storage Initiative by December 2018 and submit a budget for approval. Under the legislation, utilities would collect a specified annual amount of funding from 2018 through the end of 2027 to fund rebates for customer-sited energy storage systems. In addition, S.B.700 would dedicate up to 25% of the funds collected to low-income communities and job training.

California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA), which publicly supports the bill, says the legislation would create a marketplace for local energy storage to bring down prices and ensure access to storage for schools, businesses and consumers across the state.

“This bill allows the sun to shine at night by encouraging Californians to produce on-site solar power during the day and use energy storage to deploy that clean energy when most needed,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director OF CALSEIA. “Getting California to a zero-carbon future will require an unbelievable amount of storage to manage renewables on the grid, and this bill is a key piece to that puzzle.”

CALSEIA says much like the California Solar Initiative that transformed the solar PV market, this bill would create a declining rebate system to encourage businesses to bring down prices and invest in the state’s renewable future. California’s behind-the-meter storage market is in a similar position as that of PV a decade ago. This bill would provide stable, long-term and multi-faceted policy support to ensure storage becomes a mainstream and commonplace technology, according to CALSEIA.

“Not only does this bill encourage more private investment in our long road to 100 percent renewable energy, but it ensures access to storage technology around the state,” says Del Chiaro. “This bill will also provide benefits for all ratepayers by avoiding costly transmission and distribution upgrades and will move the state away from natural gas plant investments.”

The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

With the advancement of S.B.700, Del Chiaro says, “policymakers are showing signs of a real appetite to create a marketplace for local, customer-sited energy storage. Environmental groups, consumer groups, workforce training, low-income advocates and businesses see the value of storage.”

However, she notes, “This bill is building momentum, but it is a long road to the governor’s desk.”


Intersolar AWARD Applications Open

Now in its tenth year, the Intersolar AWARD series recognizes the most innovative solutions in the solar industry. To embrace the changing market landscape, Intersolar has incorporated a new category within the prestigious Outstanding Solar Projects segment: Smart Renewable Energy.  

The Smart Renewable Projects award focuses on the combination of energy generation, storage, grid integration and energy management. Participants are invited to submit projects and intelligent solutions that analyze and optimize power generation and consumption, as well as those that interconnect various technologies, and thereby help to create smart concepts for managing and storing renewable energy.  

“Over the past decade, the Intersolar AWARD has recognized some of the most impressive innovations in the solar industry, from next-generation solar modules to peer-to-peer solar photovoltaic microgrids,” said Florian Wessendorf, managing director of Solar Promotion International GmbH. “Being at the forefront of the solar industry means we must evolve along with the market, and in this case shining a spotlight on smart systems and grid integration. We anticipate a very competitive pool of applicants in 2017 and strongly encourage all companies to submit a nomination!”  

Any company or project owner set to exhibit at one of the global Intersolar or ees events in 2017 is eligible to submit projects, products and services for consideration. Since 2008, the AWARD committee has received 908 submissions from 45 different countries, and 97 nominations have been awarded the prize to date.

Nominations for the Intersolar AWARD are open until 12 pm PST on March 17, 2017. For more information, please visit The award will be presented on May 31, 2017 at Intersolar Europe, the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners. The winners of the AWARD in North America will also be recognized at Intersolar North America, July 11-13 in San Francisco.