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 Fall 2019 round of applications opened on September 16 and closed on November 1, 2019.
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
Active Pilots and Application Archive
Active Innovation Onramp Pilots
Empowering GHG Reduction, Choice, Competition and Local Investment through Data Access
The goal of this flagship pilot is to demonstrate the impact of free, authorized access to standardized and automated energy usage data in accelerating the deployment of clean energy projects, while empowering consumer choice and supporting local businesses.
Through this pilot, UtilityAPI will bring their industry leading Data Exchange Platform to SVCE customers and third party service provides. The platform allows third party companies in the solar, storage, energy efficiency and EV charging sectors to easily request authorization from SVCE customers to access their utility bill and usage data. Streamlined access to customer utility data enables these companies to provide solutions that are more tailored to customers’ needs, while also leveling the playing field for businesses of all sizes.
The pilot will begin beta testing in November 2019, with the expected launch in January 2020. If your company would like to participate in the beta, please email email@example.com.
Zero-Carbon Schools: Supporting K-12 School and Community College Districts to Achieve Zero Operating Carbon Emissions
This project will build upon recent research and best practices to develop a programmatic solution to provide school districts with a guide to modernizing existing school and college buildings towards zero carbon operating emissions. This 2019-20 Innovation Onramp grant project seeks to engage the K-14 facilities/leadership community to assess their needs in moving school buildings to zero net energy (ZNE) and beyond, to 100% clean energy use district-wide. Taking actions now to plan for future building electrification, and deep energy retrofits of existing buildings to zero carbon, combined with solar and battery storage, can:
- Reduce utility expenses and increase general funds
- Increase student health and attendance
- Broaden environmental education opportunities
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Leverage bond funding
- Help provide resilience to districts and their communities
This project is currently open to K-12 and community college districts operating within the SVCE territory. If your district is interested in more information about the benefits of this program and participating in this pilot project to co-create a statewide solution, please contact Zero Carbon Schools Team Leader, Alice Sung AIA, LEED AP BD+C, ISSP-SA, Principal of Greenbank Associates. [EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Check back regularly for updates on this project’s progress, links to Zero Carbon Schools toolkits and free, open source resources, as they become available.
Understanding the Role of Land Use and Urban Form in the Energy Efficiency and Decarbonization of Silicon Valley’s Urban Energy Systems
This project addresses this need through the development of a novel framework for urban energy efficiency that can encapsulate the clean energy transformation of the built environment. Check back regularly for updates on this project’s progress.
The Innovation Onramp is currently closed to new applications. We anticipate that additional rounds of funding will be made available on a semi-annual basis. Please check back regularly for updates on additional funding rounds.
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 Fall 2019 application period focused on innovative mobility 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?
The application cycle for Fall 2019 is currently closed. Please check back later for future 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 email@example.com 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
Innovation Onramp Intro Webinar
SVCE held a webinar for the Fall 2019 application cycle on October 9, 2019, to provide an overview and additional details on the program approach, key areas of interest, evaluation criteria and the application and review process. A recording of the webinar and the presentation slides can be found below.