California Offers $19.5 Million for Distributed Generation Research

Aug. 13, 2014
The California Energy Commission is offering $19.5 million for distributed generation research projects that solve electricity sector problems.

The California Energy Commission is offering $19.5 million in awards for distributed generation research projects that solve specific problems in the electricity sector.

Issued August 12, the request for proposals (PON-14-303) will fund pre-commercial research and development of distributed biopower and photovoltaics.

The commission plans to award lab-scale, and pilot-scale demonstration projects in four areas: modular woody biomass ($6 million); waste-to-energy, including strategies that use California’s organic waste streams to generate electricity and useful thermal energy to achieve cost parity with fossil-fuel power by 2020 ($4.5 million); smart inverter technologies ($4 million); and advanced PV systems ($5 million).

Applicants may submit more than one applications, but each application may address only one of the four areas.

Proposals will be evaluated first for eligibility. Those that past the first stage will then be scored. Points will be calculated based on a proposal’s:

  • Technical merit and need
  • Technical approach
  • Impact and benefits for customers of California investor-owned utilities
  • Team qualifications
  • Budget and cost-effectiveness
  • Funds spent in California
  • Labor and fringe benefits
  • Matching Funding

Both public and private entities may apply.

Funding will come from a utility ratepayer surcharge, the Electric Program Investment Charge, which collects $162 million per year.

The commission will hold pre-application workshops April 21 and April 26. Applications are due at 3 p.m. October 20. The commission expects to announce awards December 15. Grant agreements will run March 2015 through March 2019.

The RFP is available at

The solicitation is called “Advancing Cleaner, Less Costly, More Reliable Distributed Generation to Enable Customer Solutions and Zero-Net Energy Communities.”

The commission noted that it plans to issue two more inverter solicitations before September: 1) “Demonstrating Secure, Reliable Microgrids and Grid-linked Electric Vehicles to Build Resilient, Low-Carbon Facilities and Communities,”which will focus on use of the 1547a smart inverter in demonstrations to support and advance microgrids. 2) “Developing Technology Improvements for a Flexible and Responsive Electricity Grid,” which will prepare for smart inverter Phase II communications capabilities.

Keep up-to-date on the latest energy efficiency and microgrid solicitations by subscribing to Energy Efficiency Markets free newsletter.

About the Author

Kevin Normandeau | Publisher

Kevin is a veteran of the publishing industry having worked for brands like PC World, AOL, Network World, Data Center Knowledge and other business to business sites. He focuses on industry trends in the energy efficiency industry.

Exploring the Potential of Community Microgrids Through Three Innovative Case Studies

April 8, 2024
Community microgrids represent a burgeoning solution to meet the energy needs of localized areas and regions. These microgrids are clusters of interconnected energy resources,...


‘Advanced Microgrids’ Provide Advanced Solutions

This white paper from PowerSecure looks at how advanced microgrids, designed with an understanding of the dynamics and evolution of the modern power grid, can create extraordinary...