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California Solar Initiative RD&D Program Manager

Based on our expertise in solar energy technologies, in 2008 Itron was selected to be the Program Manager for the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment (RD&D) Program. The purpose of the CSI RD&D Program is to help facilitate market transformation of California’s solar electric markets, helping to achieve the CSI goal of deploying over 3,000 MW of solar electric systems and reducing the costs of solar technologies to market competitive levels by 2017. Itron’s responsibilities include developing solar RD&D roadmaps; establishing and releasing solicitations for RD&D projects; evaluation and selection of appropriate projects; and management of awarded RD&D projects. Itron established and released a solicitation focused on grid integration of solar technologies, with special emphasis on high PV penetration levels.



Self-Generation Incentive Program

Since 2001, Itron has been the evaluation contractor on one of the largest DG incentive programs in the country: California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).  By the end of 2009, the SGIP had 1,330 operational DG systems, representing nearly 357 MW of installed generating capacity and over $1.8 billion in total project investment.  DG technologies deployed under the SGIP have included solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies; wind energy systems; and renewable and conventional powered fuel cells; micro-turbines, gas turbines and internal combustion engines.  For SGIP, Itron has developed and implemented statistically valid sampling approaches; data collection; monitoring protocols for electricity generation, fuel consumption, and heat recovery; tracking performance of implemented projects; and reporting on overall program performance.  

Itron’s annual impact evaluation reports for SGIP include annual energy impacts; electric system coincident peak demand impacts; transmission and distribution system impacts; overall system efficiency and waste heat recovery of cogeneration facilities; renewable fuel use; GHG emission impacts; and cost and performance trends.  Special topical reports include an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of DG technologies and the overall SGIP program; the role of cost and performance of PV technologies relative to establishing performance-based incentives; and a detailed investigation of the system component efficiency and waste heat recovery performance characteristics of SGIP cogeneration systems.

Solar Water Heater Pilot Program

Since 2007, Itron has provided consulting services to the California Center for Sustainable Energy for an evaluation, measurement, and verification study of a CPUC-funded Solar Water Heating (SWH) Pilot Program within the San Diego County region. Itron provided an initial market assessment and baseline analysis and determined the relative importance of the various barriers to SWH penetration (economic, informational, perceptions, etc.). The project team measured energy (gas and electric) savings achieved and indicators of outreach effectiveness, including participant surveys to detect shifts in attitude towards SWH. Among the other products developed in this pilot project was an innovative market transformation analysis tool that enables users to examine possible pathways to achieving cost-effectiveness using a modified approach to the Standard Practice Manual and embedded levelized cost models.  The Final Report was completed in March 2011.

California Solar Initiative Impact Evaluation

Itron is the prime impact evaluation consultant to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the CSI. Itron completed the first impact evaluation, which covered performance, cost, environmental, and transmission/distribution impacts for nearly 19,000 installed solar PV projects. Itron completed the 2009 impact evaluation for the CSI program which has over 25,000 installed solar PV projects. The study includes the collection and processing of data from third party providers; in-field metering and verification; and site inspections and phone surveys. This study included one of the first large sample population studies of the relationships between installed PV systems and adopted energy efficiency measures.
Renewables & Distributed Generation Services
For over two decades, Itron’s Consulting and Analysis (C&A) supply side team has been providing clients with experience and expertise in the areas of distributed generation and renewable resources performance measurement, verification, and evaluation. Built on a strong platform of technology evaluation, we offer services in the areas of program design and evaluation, economic and environmental analysis, resource and technology analysis, as well as a wide range of performance monitoring and evaluation. Our customers include electric utilities, state energy offices, and enterprise businesses interested in distributed generation and renewable energy resources.
Features + Benefits
  • Research, Development, and Demonstration
  • Program Design and Evaluation
  • Economic and Environmental Analysis
  • Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Research, Development, and Demonstration

Itron is closely involved in the development and demonstration of new ways to gain value from distributed power generation, with particular expertise in renewable power sources such as solar and wind, as well as combined heat and power technologies. One example, managed on behalf of Commonwealth Energy for the California Energy Commission, involved a detailed study of the opportunity to use distributed generation in a “mini-grid” test area in the Los Angeles metropolitan area to help reduce distribution and transmission capital costs and glean environmental benefits. Currently, Itron is the Program Manager for the CPUC’s Solar Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment Program, helping to move forward the connection of solar resources to the smart grid.


Program Design and Evaluation

Working in the energy world of the 21st century often means simultaneously meeting aggressive regulatory targets for customer-owned DG and renewable resources, renewable portfolio standards (RPS), air quality requirements, and emerging global climate change targets. Itron’s C&A experts have deep familiarity with renewable energy and DG regulatory requirements, and their associated technology cost and performance trends. We have also conducted some of the most progressive analyses on ways to integrate renewable energy facilities into today’s electricity systems in order to improve system reliability. With over twenty years of experience in helping assess and plan renewable energy programs, Itron’s supply-side experts can provide balanced insights and advice on cost-effective ways to meet challenging regulatory, RPS, GHG, and environmental goals.


Economic and Environmental Analysis

In today’s energy world, rapidly evolving environmental requirements can have unexpected economic consequences. To help turn environmental challenges into economic solutions, Itron professionals match a comprehensive understanding of regulations with innovative approaches. Our expertise includes in-depth knowledge of energy availability; land use; access to transmission lines; cost-effectiveness of different energy technologies; real-world performance of DG and renewable technologies; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions impacts; customer energy needs; and load shapes. In a recent study conducted in California, Itron investigated the status and costs of controls for reducing emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from reciprocating engines operating on biogas from dairy digesters and examined these against emerging GHG requirements. In recognition of an innovative approach that balanced costs with evolving environmental policies for this project, Itron professionals were awarded the prestigious 2008 ASME Prime Mover Award.


Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Itron’s C&A group has provided leading-edge monitoring services to the energy industry, including both third-party metering and installation of Itron’s own custom-designed monitoring systems. That tradition continues with project monitoring services provided by Itron’s C&A group. Itron engineers have developed state-of-the-art electricity, fuel, and thermal monitoring systems to collect and provide comprehensive electricity and thermal efficiency information to their clients. Metered performance information includes profiles on project electricity generation on an interval basis for 8760 hours per year. Monitoring services are customized to a program’s evaluation budget and needs, ranging from full system purchases to lease arrangements.


Examples of Recent Projects

The supply side has worked on the following high profile projects on behalf of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission:

  • Self-Generation Incentive Program
  • California Solar Initiative
  • Solar Water Heater Pilot Program