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Energy and Sustainability Division

SCEIP Contractor Newsletter - Winter 2022

Welcome to the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program Contractor Newsletter.  In this issue we have:

  • SCEIP is off to a Healthy New Year 
  • NEM 3.0 and financing Energy Storage Systems
  • New Green Business Program Rebates for 2022
  • Resources for Contractors
  • Upcoming Trainings

SCEIP is off to a Healthy New Year

We are seeing strong numbers of applications coming in, and as always, we know that we couldn’t do it without you – our SCEIP Participating Contractors.  You are continuing to send property owners our way and we are able to process those SCEIP applications.  We have an increased the number of Commercial projects on the horizon and are receiving more requests from our Contractors about our SCEIP commercial process. If you have any questions regarding the Commercial SCEIP process, please reach out to us.  You may find yourselves surprised at the difference between SCEIP and other available funding (our fees are lower, our requirements are simple, and we offer a fixed rate for the entire 10 or 20 years).

Are we working remotely again?  Yes for many of us, and we are finding that we can, and do, continue to process applications through to approval. Are contractors still struggling to have enough healthy employees to “get the job done”?  Yes, and you have had to work harder with fewer, so let us know how we can help. We can take time to explain our financing process and make contact with your prospective clients – just “CC” Sceip@sonoma-county.org on your welcome emails with your proposals and “introduce us”.   Are we still having to battle with COVID supply shortages?  Yes, and you are doing so by establishing stronger communication lines between the property owners, the suppliers, our labor force, and SCEIP representatives.  We appreciate a “heads up” when a project is taking longer than expected.  We reach out and ask the homeowner to send in a current mortgage statement and extend them 30 more days.

So a “Healthy New Year” – yes.  We are seeing a healthier pipeline of applications, a high volume of Requests for Disbursements indicating completed projects, and a steady base of loyal old and new Participating Contractors.  

Looking forward to 2022

NEM 3.0 and Financing Energy Storage Systems

The Solar industry is churning with activity and conjecture concerning the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) proposal for the structure of Net Energy Metering 3 (NEM3), the successor to the current NEM2 tariff.  As most within the industry are aware, the proposed decision was released and distributed on December 13th, 2021 and the final decision on the structure of NEM3 was to be decided upon on January 27th, 2022. The decision has been delayed to an as yet undecided date, but the decision still looms. As NEM3 is currently proposed, it is looking more and more beneficial to your customers to consider the adoption of an Energy Storage System (ESS) to accompany the Solar Electric System that you’ll be installing for them.

Should your customer be considering using SCEIP financing for an ESS, be aware that doing so will likely require that the ESS be financed under a 10 year term. SCEIP cannot provide financing for an improvement that is not warrantied beyond its financing term. Most ESSs on the market come with a 10 year warranty and therefore must be financed under a 10 year term.

There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. In the case that the ESS has a warranty of 20 or more years, a 20 year term may be utilized.
  2. In the case that multiple improvements (ESS, PV, Windows, HVAC, etc…) are being financed on the same assessment, an ESS may be included in a 20 year term provided the ESS accounts for 30% or less of the total amount to be financed

Multiple assessments on the same property are permissible, which would allow for your customer to finance any particular project under a 20 year term while financing the ESS (or any additional projects) under a 10 year term on two separate assessments.

Please contact our office for any further clarification needed.

New Green Business Program Rebates for 2022!  Get Certified Now

Join the Sonoma Business Program! Rebates (reimbursements) up to $1,000 are available for green purchases or upgrades related to certification measures for businesses that complete the Green Business recognition process, including but not limited to:

  • LED lighting
    • Ventilation system upgrades
    • Water efficient plumbing fixtures
    • Purchase of 100% renewable energy
    • Compostable or reusable foodware
    • Cleaning and disinfecting products
    • ENERGY STAR® equipment
    • Recycled content paper products

Eligibility

  • Rebates are available on a first-come first-served basis for businesses that complete Green Business recognition 
  • The California Green Business Network is offering up to $500 rebates for green purchases or upgrades that contribute to certification. Businesses that complete Green Business certification are eligible. These rebate amounts will be doubled for business owners who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or for worker-owned cooperatives.

Become a Recognized Sonoma County Green Business

The Sonoma County Green Business Program is part of the statewide California Green Business Network (CAGBN), a coalition of cities and counties whose mission is to help businesses operate sustainably as well as profitably. The program is voluntary and there is no cost for certification. Sonoma County Green Business staff provide free technical assistance to small-to-medium sized businesses to help save water, conserve energy, prevent pollution, and minimize waste.

Becoming a certified Green Business is great for your business, the environment and the community. And it’s easy to do! Certified Green Businesses receive:

  • Up to $1,000 in rebates
  • Use of the California Green Business Network logo
  • Listing in the California Green Business Directory
  • Profile in the location-based Shop Green app for iOS and Android
  • Recognition certificate signed by the Chair of the Board of Supervisors
  • Green Business window decal & Marketing Toolkit
  • Ongoing promotions through local advertising, social media and public events

Benefits of with Green Business recognition include:

  • Saving money
  • Conserving valuable resources and protect the environment
  • Improving employee wellness and productivity
  • Getting a marketing edge over the competition
  • Joining the growing Green Business community

Ready to join the Green Business program?

Please contact the Sonoma County Green Business Program by email at GSEnergy@sonoma-county.org or by phone at 707-565-6470 for information about certifying your business.

Visit our website:

www.sonomacountyenergy.org/green-business

Not a Participating Contractor…

In addition to great newsletter content, participating contractors have access to training, marketing materials and website listing at no-cost.  To learn how you can take advantage of these benefits contact our office at (707) 565-6470 or download the Contractor Standards and Guidelines

Resources for Contractors

Tech Incentive Rebates Now Available

Heat pump water heaters are growing in popularity and with that the demand for quality contractors to install them is as well.  There are substantial rebates available, totaling up to $4,800 for qualifying units, when customers have them installed by a participating contractor with additional incentives available if upgrades to the service panel are required.

We invite you to become a BayREN Home+ contractor and start offering these rebates to your customers with little additional effort. Participating contractors have access to BayREN Home+ and the new TECH Clean California Initiative rebates viaa single application. 

Replacement Scenario Measure Criteria Total Contractor Incentive (TECH + BayREN) Combined
Gas to HPWH HPWH < 55 gallons $3,100
Gas to HPWH HPWH > 55 gallons $3,800
Electric Resistance to HPWH All sizes $1,500
Panel Upgrade/Load Center Sizing up to 200 amps or any work that needs to be done on the existing panel to accommodate the new unit $2,800

The Program will also help you by providing lead generation through BayREN marketing efforts, and an active listing on the BayREN “Find a Contractor” tool.

What are your next steps?

In order to offer BayREN Home+ and TECH rebates, contractors need to enroll in the BayREN Home+ program. For each project, contractors would only need to submit one application.

To become a participating contractor, you’ll need to

  • Register online at https://bayren.org/partner-us/contractors
  • Complete 5 online training webinars which can be taken anytime
  • Complete the onboarding paperwork (including providing a W9, a Certificate of Insurance for Auto, General Liability, and Worker’s Comp, and a COVID-19 Safety Acknowledgement), and
  • Sign a Contractor Participation Agreement

https://bayren.org/partner-us/contractorsThe Contractor Portal will navigate you through the enrollment steps but don’t hesitate to reach out to the BayREN contractor services team with any questions.

Support@bayren.org

 866-878-6008 ext 3

If your company is not currently offering heat pump water heaters to your customers and would like to learn more about the technology, we can help you find free online trainings and other resources or visit https://www.bayrencodes.org/events/ to look for upcoming FREE training opportunities. 

Sonoma Clean Power’s Advanced Energy Center Open Now! Obtain Free Customer Leads and Requests for Bids!  New Contractors Welcomed

Contractors looking to…

  • Receive pre-qualified customer leads with no acquisition costs?
  • Offer lower cost equipment?
  • Become a certified installer for free?
  • Increase their scope of work?

The Advanced Energy Center is open to the public now – walk-in or book a free tour! The Advanced Energy Center located at 741 4th Street in downtown Santa Rosa offers discounts on a wide range of energy efficiency equipment. Customers visit the Center to learn and select equipment they want in their homes or businesses. The Advanced Energy Center wants you to join their Contractor Network and receive customers’ requests for bids. Small and large projects are available, and we welcome all contractor companies to sign up here – requirements are simple: hold a valid CSLB license and name Sonoma Clean Power as additionally insured. 

Advanced Energy Center products include…

  • Induction cooktops
  • Heat pump mini splits
  • Heat pump water heaters
  • EV Chargers
  • Solar Batteries
  • …and more!

Customers and their contractors can increase the scope of their projects by taking advantage of 0% loans up to $10,000 for 10 years paid back through their PG&E bill. Contractors can offer pre-qualified customers financing by watching our 1-hour On-Bill Financing Contractor Certification Course.

Questions?  Email to: AdvancedEnergyCenter@SonomaCleanPower.org

Free Contractor Trainings February - April 2022

BayREN + County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division Trainings

Residential HVAC Design Series – (3-Part Series)

Instructor: Russell King, M.E. is a licensed mechanical engineer with over 30 years of experience practicing and teaching residential HVAC design, energy codes, energy ratings, and building science.  He is the author of the book “HVAC 1.0 - Introduction to Residential HVAC Systems”. He is CEO and Founder of Coded Energy, Inc., developers of HVAC design and energy modeling software.

Residential HVAC Design Series – Part 1 of 3: ACCA Manual J Loads and Manual S Equipment Selection

Location: Webinar

Instructor: Russell King, M.E., Coded Energy, Inc.

Dates: Part 1 of 3 - Friday, March 4, 2022    

Time: 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Description: This 3-hour webinar will introduce ACCA Manual J (heating and cooling load calculations) and ACCA Manual S (equipment selection) and will cover the basics of performing these calculations.  More and more building departments and incentive programs are requiring HVAC design documentation.  We will discuss the importance of accurate load calculations and proper equipment sizing, based on those loads, especially for optimal heat pump performance.  We will explain why oversizing air conditioners can cause more comfort problems than undersizing.  We will discuss the design software options available and examples will be performed.  It is recommended, but not required that you take this class and the follow-up ACCA Manual D (duct design) class. (ACCA is Air Conditioning Contractors of America www.acca.org)

<u>Register to attend online</u>

Residential HVAC Design Series: ACCA Manual D Duct Design

Location: Webinar

Dates: Part 2 of 3 - Friday, April 22, 2022     

Time: 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Instructor: Russell King, M.E., Coded Energy, Inc.

Description: This 3-hour webinar will introduce ACCA Manual D (duct design) and cover the basics of duct system layout and sizing, including supply register and return grille selection and placement.  We will discuss the importance of good airflow and how reduced airflow can impact system capacity as well as efficiency.  We will demystify external static pressure, equivalent lengths, and friction rate.  We will discuss the design software options available and examples will be performed.  It is recommended, but not required that you take this class and the preceding ACCA Manual J/S (load calculations and equipment selection) class. (ACCA is Air Conditioning Contractors of America www.acca.org)

<u>Register to attend online</u>

Diagnostic Testing for Accurate Load Calculations and Code Compliance

Location: In-person - Lunch will be provided for in-person attendees.

Dates: Part 3 of 3 - Friday, May 13, 2022     

Time: 9:00 am-1:00 pm

Instructor: Russell King, M.E., Coded Energy, Inc.

Description: This live 4-hour hands-on training will cover the diagnostic tests and equipment available to provide invaluable information about homes so that you can optimize the performance of residential HVAC systems.  Some of these tests (e.g., duct leakage, airflow, fan watt draw, refrigerant charge) are required by code to be passed when certain changes are made to existing systems.  These tests are performed by third-party special inspectors called HERS raters (Home Energy Rating System).  Doesn’t it make sense that you be able to do these tests yourself?  If you’re not testing, you’re just guessing.  We will also cover the importance of testing building shell leakage, how it alone can account for up to 30% of a home’s heating and cooling loads, and why every HVAC contractor should be performing this test.  Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division Tool Lending Library program measurement tools will be available during the training to allow for hands-on experience for participants.

Call 707-565-6470 or email GSEnergy@sonoma-county.org

County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division Tool Lending Library

The County of Sonoma Energy and Sustainability Division (ESD) Tool Lending Library (TLL) is a unique program that loans building measurement and diagnostic equipment free of charge to qualified Sonoma County professionals working on short term energy efficiency and demand reduction projects. For more information about the Tool Lending Library:

http://sonomacountyenergy.org/tll

BayREN Live Online Trainings

Heat Pump Water Heaters for Contractors

Location: Webinar

Dates: Tuesday, February 10, 2022

Time: 8:00 am-9:15 am

Description: Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are an increasingly popular technology that are a highly efficient means of providing hot water to houses. This training will be geared toward contractors and will describe HPWHs, when HPWHs are allowed under the 2019 Energy Code, energy code requirements for installation, and how to complete compliance forms.

Register to attend online

PG&E Live Online Trainings

Residential Lighting Controls

Location: Webinar

Date: Friday, February 4, 2022

Time: 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Description This class introduces designers, specifiers, building contractors, and homeowners to residential lighting controls functionality, requirements and products. Award-winning lighting designer David W Patton and expert Clifton Lemon will discuss options to design lighting controls to meet mandatory controls requirements as well as meet a homeowner’s personal preferences. They explain how to think about controls early so the lighting products and controls work together smoothly. They will explain how to go beyond code demands to achieve further savings and automated functionality using lighting controls. They tackle one of the biggest issues in a lighting system: controls and lighting fixture compatibility and their wiring requirements, with the goal of helping you avoid common mistakes with fixtures and controls that don't work well together. This class concentrates on residential lighting controls.

Register to attend online

Basics of Photovoltaic (PV) & Energy Storage Systems (ESS) for Grid-Tied Applications (2-Part Series)

Location: Webinar

Dates: Part 1 of 2 - Tuesday, February 8, 2022 & Part 2 of 2 - Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Time: 9:00 am-12:30 pm

Description: This course teaches the basic vocabulary, technical details, and economic concepts necessary to understand and evaluate grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) projects and energy storage systems (ESS) from a project manager's and/or owner's perspective. This class is offered in two sections. In the first class, the instructor will provide an introduction to grid fundamentals and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various PV technologies, including module efficiencies and their implications on the space requirements of a project, and ESS technologies. In the second class, the instructor will discuss PV installation options along with an overview of criteria for selecting a solar site, and PV system costs and incentives (state and federal). The class will focus on residential-sized systems, but will also discuss larger options.  Please note this class is designed as an introductory class for anyone interested in understanding the basic concepts of PV &ESS project evaluation and for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the solar industry. It is not a hands-on installation class or a PV design/engineering class.  It is an ideal foundation for the more advanced classes in our PV series. NABCEP Continuing Education Credits are available.

Register to attend online

Air Sealing and Insulating Existing Homes: Creating Continuity in the Ceiling Air Barrier

Location: Webinar

Dates: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Time: 8:00 am-12:00 pm

Description: Testing your work is imperative to meet or exceed performance targets and to ensure a feedback loop is in place for continual process improvements. A bulk of the air leaks that are in most homes are found in the ceiling assembly. In this this 4-hour course, Gavin Healy of Balance Point Home Performance reviews how to establish continuity in the ceiling air barrier of existing homes where the drywall is interrupted.  The course material relies on blower door and infrared diagnostics to identify typical existing performance issues.  Real world examples are illustrated to convey how to address a variety of complex continuity issues.  Finally, the class will cover the magnitude of opportunity available for reducing the air exchange rate by creating continuity in the ceiling assembly.

Register to attend online

Air Sealing and Insulating Existing Homes: Addressing Common Hazards During Energy Upgrades

Location: Webinar

Dates: Thursday, February 24, 2022

Time: 9:00 am-11:00 am

Description: Upgrading the thermal and air leakage performance of existing homes exposes a variety of hazards. Many professionals either do not know how to address or how to communicate the importance of the issue to the customer. Estimators and installers, including DIY homeowners, take on additional liability when they fail to identify and remediate existing hazards during upgrade projects. In this two-hour class, instructor Gavin Healy of Balance Point Home Performance will cover the most common hazards that are regularly uncovered during energy upgrades and provide some practical strategies for resolving those issues. Specific hazards include faulty electrical systems, combustion appliance vent systems that require clearance to combustibles, or have vent systems that do not effectively exhaust combustion by products to the exterior.

Register to attend online

Title 24 Proper Procedures for Charging Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps (2-Part Series)

Location: Webinar

Dates: Part 1 of 2 - Tuesday, March 1, 2022 & Part 2 of 2 - Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Time: 9:00 am-12:30 pm

Description: In this two-day series, the instructor will review the basics of the refrigeration cycle, and discuss in detail the three methods of charging systems; charging by superheat with fixed orifice metering devices, charging by sub-cooling with thermostatic expansion valve metering devices, and weighing in the charge. Practicing HVAC technicians will gain valuable information which will improve system performance for their customers.

Register to attend online

Photovoltaic (PV) Site & Energy Storage Systems (ESS) Analysis and System Sizing (2 Part Series)

Location: Webinar

Dates: Part 1 of 2 - Tuesday, March 8, 2022 & Part 2 of 2 - Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Time: 9:00 am-12:30 pm

Description: This is an intermediate two-part webinar series for anyone interested in understanding the specific issues associated with photovoltaic (PV) site and energy storage systems (ESS) analysis and system sizing. We will cover technical feasibility of a potential PV & ESS project including solar resource, system orientation, module tilt angles, planning for shade, and evaluating space requirements. We will introduce participants to tools available for solar site analysis (Solar Pathfinder, Solmetric SunEye) through hands-on demonstrations and project examples. NABCEP Continuing Education Credits are available.

Register to attend online

Residential Heat Pump Installation and Commissioning for Installers, Raters and Commissioning Agents (2-part series)

Location: Webinar

Dates: Part 1 of 2 - Tuesday, March 29, 2022 & Part 2 of 2 - Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Time: 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Description: Transitioning residential and commercial heating and cooling systems from gas to electric is a key component in California’s plan to reduce emissions of global warming gasses. More heat pumps will be installed as electrification efforts continue to ramp up. There are large variations in the operating efficiency of heat pumps that result from our installation and commissioning practices. This class will focus on installation practices, troubleshooting and commissioning steps that effect final installed efficiency. We will look at airflow, line set plumbing, refrigerant leak prevention, location and repair, heat pump controls and control settings. Both legacy systems and mini split systems will be covered. The class will be presented in two, three-hour parts.

Register to attend online