Friday, March 26, 2010

Seeking Ideas for California Self-Generation Incentive Program M&E

As part of its planning process for future program M&E, the M&E Subcommittee of the Working Group of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is reaching out to a broad industry audience to find out what types of studies and reporting tools others working in the DG arena are currently conducting and using – or wish they were.

The SGIP has provided capacity-based incentives to support existing, new, and emerging distributed energy resources in California since 2001, after its creation as a peak load reduction program in response to California Assembly Bill (AB) 970 (Ducheny, 2000). The program provides rebates for qualifying distributed energy systems installed on the customer's side of the utility meter. Initial qualifying technologies included photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines, fuel cells, internal combustion engines, microturbines, and gas turbines. Beginning January 1, 2008, the SGIP was limited by statute to providing incentives for wind and fuel cell technologies only. Current qualifying technologies include wind turbines, fuel cells, and corresponding energy storage systems.

On October 11, 2009, California Senate Bill (SB) 412 (Kehoe, 2009) was signed into law to take effect in January 2010. SB 412 authorizes the CPUC, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to determine eligible technologies for the SGIP based on the requirement that they “achieve reductions of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.”

With the shift in program goals and purposes (and related changes in eligible technologies), along with the continuing increase in interest in and growth of the DG market in California and around the globe, it was deemed appropriate to consider a potentially parallel shift in M&E activities – both for studies conducted, as well as the way their results and related information is reported and made accessible to interested parties.

Past and current SGIP M&E efforts include:
Annual Impact Evaluations: Analyses of the impacts of the SGIP in each year of operation. Areas of assessment include: Electrical energy production and demand reduction; operating and reliability performance characteristics; electrical, thermal and overall efficiencies and the contribution of SGIP technologies to electricity system efficiency and reliability; the impact of employment of renewable fuels by SGIP technologies; the extent to which SGIP technologies provide net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions; and the relationship between DG technologies and operation, and T&D system performance and operations.

Process and Retention Evaluations (including Program Administrator (PA) Comparative Assessments): Analyses of SGIP processes and the interaction between these processes and current market needs. Process evaluations and PA comparative assessments include reviews of administrative styles and processes, marketing and outreach, implications of different approaches, and external variations. Retention studies assess the long-term persistence of impacts from self-generation technologies, and find the technical degradation factor (time and use related change in efficiency) and the effective useful life (the median number of years that the technologies are still in place and operational).

Cost-Effectiveness Studies: Assessments of the cost-effectiveness of the SGIP, based on SGIP-specific projects and incentive structures. The September 2005 preliminary cost-effectiveness assessment was based on the cost-effectiveness analysis framework report using metered project performance information. In accordance with that framework, cost-effectiveness was evaluated from three perspectives: participant (project owners within the SGIP), nonparticipant (ratepayers), and society as a whole. The 2007 report on solar PV costs and incentive factors is intended to provide information on metered PV performance and reported PV system costs for PV systems implemented under the SGIP, and is meant to examine the relationships of PV performance, cost, and incentive design.

Renewable Fuel Use Reports: Assessments of the extent to which SGIP technologies employ renewable fuels. Reports include analysis of the compliance of renewable fuel use projects receiving incentives under the SGIP with renewable fuel use requirements, identification of the operational and cost characteristics of RFU projects, and evaluation of the implications of increased renewable fuel use on the SGIP.

Miscellaneous Topical Studies: Including an in-depth analysis of useful waste heat recovery and level 3/3N performance, performance degradation studies of SGIP PV and CHP projects, and studies on improving dispatch of SGIP technologies, and strategic location of DG technologies in highly congested T&D areas.

M&E Reporting tools are currently primarily written reports which are distributed electronically to the SGIP Working Group and related stakeholders, and posted on the CPUC and PA sites. Related presentations are typically given to the Working Group, PA staff, CPUC Energy Division staff, and, sometimes, at public workshops hosted by the CPUC.

To download published SGIP M&E reports, visit

The SGIP M&E Subcommittee seeks your input on:
-- M&E studies you have either been involved with or think would be of use as the SGIP moves into its next phase, as governed by CA SB 412 legislation
-- M&E reporting tools that might make it easier to share the wealth of information the program has and will continue to garner and develop.

Please share your ideas by posting a comment.

Betsy Wilkins
EVO Communications