An emergency proclamation has sparked the new motivation for California growers to make facility upgrades.
Early last year, the California Public Utilities Commission introduced the Market Access Program (MAP), a grid reliability program that encourages energy savings — especially during peak summer demand — by replacing inefficient equipment.
Multiple utility companies participate in the program, including Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric. A few smaller municipalities and co-ops are also involved.
The state made $150 million available for the program. Yet to participate, there are requirements.
First, MAP is different from traditional utility rebate programs that issue checks based on qualifications after making LED lighting or technology upgrades. MAP focuses on electric grid reliability through energy-efficiency upgrades/retrofits and evaluates energy savings over a 12-month period after installation.
So not only do you need pre-authorization to participate, your incentive reward is based on actual energy savings over the prior year. You must also work through an authorized aggregator rather than directly with your utility.
The payoff can be well worth the extra effort and patience.
“What’s flattering is that when I compare scenarios of lighting upgrades, as an example, I’m seeing the incentive award for the MAP program being in upward of 20%-30% greater through the MAP program,” said Lee Levitt, North American Utility Director for Current Lighting (formerly GE Current, A Daintree Company and Hubbell Lighting).
This is because your award is disbursed over a year and is based on verified energy savings. California utilities do their energy evaluations similarly, but they may be slightly different as most make incentive payments each quarter, meaning you can receive up to four payouts.
The MAP program’s main purpose is to increase reliability on California’s energy grid, as well as reduce the risks of blackouts or brownouts. For growers, the challenge is that California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted this program as an emergency proclamation. So there’s a limited pot of dollars available and a small window of time to make energy-saving upgrades.
“These program dollars will be committed to working with an aggregator partner like Current on a pre-approval, first come-first serve basis,” Levitt added. “Projects need to be installed by August 2023, and no one yet knows if the program will continue with new funding or end permanently.”
For now, the program is expected to run through at least September or October 2023.