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Innovation

SVCE is focused on driving innovation to fight climate change locally.

logo for the data hive

SVCE Data Hive: instant, authorized and secure.

The SVCE Data Hive is a flagship pilot project with UtilityAPI  awarded through SVCE’s Innovation Onramp. It will make initiating clean energy projects quicker and easier for everyone involved whether you are getting a quote for a solar installation, electric vehicle charger or energy efficiency upgrade.

The SVCE Data Hive will streamline this process by providing instant, authorized and secure access to standardized energy data needed to provide a project quote. This project will help reduce friction in the market – by addressing both the cost and hassle of getting authorized access to customer data, as well as empower customer choice and support local businesses.

Innovation Onramp

The Innovation Onramp program was launched to leverage SVCE’s unique position to engage and support the innovation ecosystem in addressing key technical, market and policy barriers to achieving deep decarbonization in our service territory & beyond.

The Spring 2020 application cycle closed on May 15, 2020. This application cycle focused on resiliency solutions revolving around energy and the community. Please return to this site for information regarding projects that were awarded through the Spring 2020 application period and for updates regarding the next application cycle.

For proposals requesting grant funding, two stages of grant funding are available:

  • Stage 1: $10,000 – $75,000 for proofs of concept
  • Stage 2: $50,000 – $100,000 for demonstrations
two people talking and smiling at the Grid Shift hackathon

Active Pilots

Spring 2019 Cohort
Empowering GHG Reduction, Choice, Competition and Local Investment through Data Access
Zero-Carbon Schools: Supporting K-12 School and Community College Districts to Achieve Zero Operating Carbon Emissions
Understanding the Role of Land Use and Urban Form in the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonization of Silicon Valley’s Urban Energy Systems
Fall 2019 Cohort
Accelerating Electric Vehicle Adoption in Low- and Moderate-Income Multifamily Properties through Low Power Charging
Unlocking Access to Electric Vehicle Charging in Multi-unit Dwellings through a Reservation-Based Software Platform for Shared Charging
Zero-Carbon Electric Vehicle Charging

Application Information

Application

The application period for the Innovation Onramp Spring 2020 cycle is now closed. Please check back for any future updates for the next application cycle and sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay in the know about SVCE’s programs and updates.

Evaluation Criteria 

Primary evaluation criteria for proposals are the five prioritization criteria identified in the Decarb Strategy & Programs Roadmap.

  • Customer & Community Value
  • Emissions Impact
  • Scalable & Transferable
  • Equity in Service
  • Core Role for SVCE

Secondary evaluation criteria include but are not limited to the following.

  • Staff resource impacts
  • Acceptance of the terms and conditions in the standardized partnership agreements
  • Co-funding for project, such as in-kind labor or other grant funding

Additionally, SVCE may identify one or more focus areas for funding rounds, based on current needs and timing of other strategic initiatives. The Spring 2020 application period focused on innovative resiliency solutions. Nevertheless, all types of projects were welcomed to apply and were open to consideration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA)? How does it differ from a typical utility (e.g. PG&E)?

Assembly Bill 117 was passed in 2002 to establish Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) also known as Community Choice Energy (CCE), a new way for California communities to provide local residents and businesses with a choice of electric providers and sources of electricity. CCAs replace an Investor-Owned Utility’s electric generation services with a local, publicly controlled electric generation service. In the SVCE service area, SVCE is responsible for purchasing electricity, which PG&E then distributes to homes and businesses. PG&E continues to provide billing service, account starts and stops, resolves outages, performs power line maintenance and remains responsible for all gas services. For more information, please visit: https://www.svcleanenergy.org/the-agency/.

When will Innovation Onramp open for new applications?

SVCE plans to release a call for applications for Innovation Onramp on a semi-annual basis, in the spring and fall timeframes. Please check back for updated information about the next application cycle and sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay in the know about SVCE’s programs and updates.”

Who can apply to the Innovation Onramp program?

Anyone can apply to the Innovation Onramp program. Applicants may apply as a single entity, or a team with multiple partners may submit an application, with one party designated as the lead for purposes of contracting.

I submitted an application to Innovation Onramp previously but wasn’t selected – can I reapply?

Yes, you are welcome to reapply. You are encouraged to incorporate any feedback and insight that you may have received related to your previous application.

How do I get help tailoring my application and understanding SVCE’s priorities?

Please see the Innovation Onramp informational webinar for more information on the program and SVCE’s priorities. You may also reach out to innovation@svcleanenergy.org to ask questions and to solicit preliminary feedback on proposal concepts.

How are Innovation Onramp projects selected?

The Fall 2019 application round prioritized innovative mobility solutions. While this application round had a theme, SVCE considered all submissions.

Are there any priority areas of interest? Are there any topic areas that SVCE won’t fund?

SVCE may identify priority areas during certain application rounds. The Fall 2019 application round focused on innovative mobility solutions. Nevertheless, all project submissions were welcomed and considered by SVCE.

SVCE will not fund pilot projects that are duplicative of existing or planned SVCE programs, or that are not sufficiently well-aligned with SVCE’s core functions and role. For example, a pilot project aimed at showcasing all-electric homes would be unlikely to be selected for an Innovation Onramp grant, as this would be duplicative of SVCE’s All Electric Showcase Award. Or, a pilot project that focuses on innovative ways to operate a high-DER penetration distribution system would also be unlikely to be funded, unless the distribution utility (PG&E) is a member of the application team.

Additionally, SVCE intends to amplify the impact of Innovation Onramp program by openly sharing results and lessons learned. As such, SVCE will not fund projects where the results cannot be widely disseminated.

What does SVCE consider “innovative”? Does a project need to have a technology aspect to be considered for Innovation Onramp?

SVCE takes a broad view of innovation. While some pilot projects may have a technology focus, others may employ innovative stakeholder engagement and outreach strategies, or innovative solutions to policy design and urban planning, for example. To improve your application’s chances of success, simply identify the problem you wish to address, how current solutions fall short, and how your project brings an innovative solution to the table. SVCE is also interested in deploying innovative solutions that have been piloted in other regions or contexts, to help facilitate achieving scale.

What is the maximum amount of funding I can apply for through Innovation Onramp?

Innovation Onramp offers grant funding at two levels: $10,000 – $75,000 for Phase 1 proof of concept projects, and $50,000 – $100,000 for Phase 2 demonstration projects. SVCE may also consider awarding grant funding above $100,000 threshold under special circumstances. Awarding of a Phase 1 grant does not guarantee Phase 2 funding.

What costs will Innovation Onramp grant funds cover? Are there any ineligible costs?

Innovation Onramp grant funds may be used for direct costs related to the pilot project. Examples of eligible costs include staff labor hours directly related to the pilot project, hardware equipment costs for technology demonstration projects, or travel expenses specifically related to project activities and deliverables.

Innovation Onramp grant funds may not be used for the following types of costs:

  • Shared, indirect expenses such as administrative costs for offices or business operations
  • Legal or other fees related to IP development, applications for patents, etc.
  • Lobbying or contribution to political campaigns
How long will I have to implement my Innovation Onramp pilot project?

Pilot projects receiving Innovation Onramp grant funding should be completed in no more than 18 months from the time of contract execution.

Standardized Partnership Agreement

Hardware pilots:
Non-hardware pilot:
Image of the partnership agreement - link to document
SaaS Agreement:
screenshot of the agreement

Innovation Onramp Intro Webinar

The Spring 2020 Webinar provides additional details on program approach, key areas of interest, evaluation criteria and the application and review process.

Past Webinar:

A recording of the webinar for the Spring 2020 application and the presentation slides can be found below. This webinar took place on April 14, 2020.

Slides

Webinar Recording

Innovation Hackathons

GridShift Hackathon – January 2020

SVCE hosted the GridShift Hackathon along with Powerhouse. Held at Google Developer’s Launchpad in San Francisco, more than 100 ‘hackers’ built innovative solutions to enable the transformation to a cleaner, smarter, and more equitable electric grid. Winning Hackathon teams took home $16,000 in prizes. Their proposed solutions included an interface allowing automated scheduling for flexible electrical loads, a “Green Routes” app to locate EV charging stations that optimize for carbon, cost and convenience, and app-connected light bulb indicating electricity prices and planned local power-shut offs. Read More

Hackathon Sponsorships

Powerhouse SunCode 2019

SVCE sponsored the annual SunCode hackathon at the Citizen Engagement Lab in Downtown Oakland. Out of the total twenty teams, four worked on SVCE’s challenge statement focused on retrofitting single-family homes to be all-electric. The grand prize went to Team Retrofit, which solved SVCE’s challenge with a user-friendly online survey. The program used photos and visual information to help customers identify what types of appliances they have, then provided solutions for energy and cost savings that promote electrification. Learn more at: https://www.svcleanenergy.org/news/suncode-hackathon-brings-creative-solutions-to-carbon-pollution/ 

Stanford Cleantech Challenge 2019

SVCE sponsored Stanford Cleantech Challenge and posed a challenge for “hackers” to provide solutions to inform and influence customers to switch heating systems from natural gas to electricity, which can save money and reduce a home’s carbon footprint. The event’s grand prize went to the team “Home Team” for thier solution of providing a modern heat pump water heater, expanding heat pump water heater networks and helping customers use Internet of Things technology to optimize electricity use.

second place team with large grid shift check for their winnings
close up image of someone working on design aspects of their project
close-up of someone pitching their solution

Questions

Please direct questions to innovation@svcleanenergy.org