California Energy Commission Letterhead

In the Matter of Proposed Changes to the
New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook

Energy Commission
Docket No. 06-NSHP-1

Notice of Staff Workshop
RE: New Solar Homes Partnership


Notice of Staff Workshop on Proposed Changes to the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook

California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop to discuss proposed changes to the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook.

FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2009
10 a.m.
1516 Ninth Street
Hearing Room A
Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair Accessible)

Remote Attendance

Web Conferencing - Presentations and audio from the meeting will be broadcast via our WebEx web conferencing system. For details on how to participate via WebEx, please see the "Participation through WebEx" section at the end of this notice.


The purpose of this workshop is to solicit comments from interested parties on proposed changes to the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) Guidebook (Guidebook). An overview of the proposed changes follows this workshop notice. Staff also seeks comments from stakeholders on other possible changes to improve the program. The proposed changes relate to all aspects of the program, including program requirements, application processing, PV Calculator, energy efficiency, and the HERS verification process. Changes are also proposed to make modifications to eligibility criteria intended be consistent with the Senate Bill 1(Murray, Chapter 132, Statutes of 2006) Guidelines (SB1 Guidelines), provide clarification of Guidebook language and requirements, and revise and simplify the application forms.


The Energy Commission's NSHP is part of a comprehensive statewide solar program known as the California Solar Initiative. The NSHP provides financial incentives to encourage the installation of eligible solar energy systems on new residential construction. The NSHP covers newly constructed residential buildings and seeks to achieve 400 megawatts of distributed solar PV electricity generation by the end of 2016.

Since the program began in 2007, Energy Commission staff has received many comments from stakeholders regarding streamlining of the program. The proposed changes to the Guidebook are intended to address these comments.

Written Comments

Written comments on the workshop topics must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on April 17, 2009. Please include the docket number 06-NSHP-01 and indicate Staff Workshop on the Proposed Changes to the New Solar Homes Partnership Guidebook in the subject line or first paragraph of your comments. Please hand deliver or mail an original plus 10 paper copies to:

California Energy Commission
Dockets Office, MS-4
Re: Docket No. 06-NSHP-01
1516 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512

The Energy Commission encourages comments by e-mail. Please include your name or organization name in the name of the file. Those submitting comments by electronic mail should provide them in either Microsoft Word format or as a Portable Document (PDF) to One paper copy must also be sent to the Energy Commission's Docket Unit.

Participants may also provide an original and 10 copies at the beginning of the workshop. All written materials relating to this workshop will be filed with the Dockets Unit and become part of the public record in this proceeding.

Public Participation

The Energy Commission's Public Adviser's Office provides the public assistance in participating in Energy Commission activities. If you want information on how to participate in this forum, please contact the Public Adviser's Office at (916) 654-4489 or toll free at (800) 822-6228, by FAX at (916) 654-4493, or by e-mail at If you have a disability and require assistance to participate, please contact Lou Quiroz at (916) 654-5146 at least five days in advance.

Please direct all news media inquiries to the Media and Public Communications Office at (916) 654-4989, or by e-mail at For technical questions on the subject matter, please call Sandy Miller at (916) 654-5166 or e-mail at

Participation through WebEx, the Energy Commission's on-line meeting service

Computer Logon with a Direct Phone Number:

  • Please go to and enter the unique meeting number 924 619 517. When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password: nshp@10am
  • After you login, a prompt will appear on-screen for you to provide your phone number. In the Number box, type your area code and phone number and click OK to receive a call back on your phone for the audio of the meeting. International callers can use the "Country/Region" button to help make their connection.

Computer Logon for Callers with an Extension Phone Number, etc.:

  • Please go to and enter the unique meeting number 924 619 517. When prompted, enter your information and the following meeting password: nshp@10am
  • After you login, a prompt will ask for your phone number. CLICK CANCEL.
  • Instead call (866) 469-3239 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada). When prompted, enter the above meeting number and your unique Attendee ID number which is listed in the top left area of your screen after you login. International callers can dial in using the "Show all global call-in numbers" link (also in the top left area).

Telephone Only (No Computer Access):

Call (866) 469-3239 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada) and when prompted enter the unique meeting number above. International callers can select their number from

If you have difficulty joining the meeting, please call the WebEx Technical Support number at (866) 229-3239. Please be aware that the meeting's WebEx audio and on-screen activity may be recorded.

commissioner signature
Commissioner and Presiding Member
Renewables Committee

commissioner signature
Chairman and Associate Member
Renewables Committee


1. Staff-Proposed Changes to NSHP Guidebook

General Program

  • The NSHP program has not received any reservations to date under the "solar as an option" program feature. Staff is soliciting stakeholder input on how to make this application process more attractive for applicants or whether it should be eliminated.
  • Allow developments with more than 6 homes to apply in phases and qualify for Solar as Standard incentives (projects with a minimum commitment of 50% or more of all homes/dwelling units in the subdivision or multifamily housing development). This will allow more developments to qualify.
  • Limit incentives to the first 10 kW of a system, and drop system size justification. This revision would cap NSHP incentives for solar systems greater than 10 kW.
  • Eliminate the six-month checkpoint process and form requirement (NSHP-1.6 reservation) due to lack of use of such process/form.
  • Staff is soliciting stakeholder input on the length of the reservation period for large developments with long build-out schedules and whether a longer reservation period is needed.
  • Staff seeks proposals to allow builders to offer larger systems than specified in their approved applications and have assurance of a specified rebate level for the incremental system size.
  • Remove the 45 year requirement that affordable housing must retain its affordable status. This change would allow applications and participation from areas where a 45 year affordability requirement does not exist.
  • Allow a 60 day time period after tax credit approval by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee for affordable housing projects to submit finalized efficiency documentation. This change would provide greater flexibility for project developers to prepare documentation and submit their reservations into the program.
  • Evaluate the use of virtual net metering for NSHP affordable housing projects consistent with the California Public Utilities Commission's forthcoming decision on virtual net metering for the California Solar Initiative program.
  • Staff is soliciting stakeholder input on guidelines, requirements and conditions for a solar lease program to be incorporated into the NSHP guidebook.


The following changes would be made to simplify the application/inspection/payment claim process:

  • Eliminate hard copies of the Residential New Construction (RNC) program acceptance letter, Certificate of Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing (CF-4R and CF-4R-PV forms), and interconnection letter. Program administrators will check that these forms have been submitted internally and through the Home Energy Rating Systems registries.
  • Remove as a requirement the build-out schedule, system size justification letter, final solar permit sign-off, and final paid invoice. Energy Commission staff will conduct random audits on affordable housing applicants, confirming that applicants have copies of the maintenance and monitoring plan. This change will reduce paperwork and streamline the process.
  • Provide applicants the option for the payee to sign all required documents.
  • Require the Payee Data Record form STD-204 at the payment claim step.

PV Calculator

  • Staff seeks input regarding the potential allowance of a wider azimuth range for the California Flexible Installation approach in conjunction with a revised default azimuth that represents a conservative performance level for this wider range. Staff is considering allowing an azimuth range of 90° to 270° with a default azimuth of 120°.

2. Discussion about issues related to streamlining the NSHP Process

PV Calculator

  • Staff will address the "Minimal Shading Criterion" and "Accounting for Actual Shading" sections of the SB1 Guidelines (pages 47-57) and discuss which items may be appropriate for inclusion under NSHP.
  • Staff will discuss efforts to assist applicants in selecting the climate zone that their project is in, including greater clarity in the calculator interface, for locations on the border of climate zones 7 and 10 in the San Diego area.
  • The calculator user interface is being streamlined to increase usability and user-friendliness.
  • Notification of a version change will be aligned with the public notification of the next incentive drop, and will allow a 30 day grace period after the new calculator is implemented to submit reservations using the previous calculator.

Energy Efficiency

  • Staff proposes posting online typical Energy Efficiency measures that have been employed for each climate zone.
  • Staff will work with the California Association of Building Energy Consultants and the Home Energy Rating Systems providers to provide more training to the Certified Energy Plans Examiners and HERS raters to improve their knowledge of the NSHP.
  • Staff will work toward developing and clarifying common area energy efficiency requirements in multifamily buildings.

Home Energy Rating Systems Raters

  • Future NSHP training workshops will include a segment that would help applicants better understand the HERS verification process.
  • Staff will work to ensure better coordination among HERS providers and raters, especially in situations where two HERS Providers and two HERS raters are working on one project.