For Immediate Release January 22, 2020

Funding follows initial investment supporting early-stage

SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $2.7 million today to help entrepreneurs continue developing their clean energy projects.

The grants were awarded through the CEC’s California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development(CalSEED) initiative. Administered by New Energy Nexus, CalSEED funds early-stage startups, entrepreneurs, and individuals developing innovative clean technology solutions. 

CalSEED provides up to $150,000 in initial funding and up to $450,000 more in follow-on funding. Today’s awardees were selected for follow-on funding through a competitive process based on the projects’ technical and commercial potential. 

CalSEED is funded through the CEC’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, which drives clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship by funding research to help achieve California’s goal of a 100 percent clean energy generation system by 2045. 

“CalSEED represents some of the best of California’s entrepreneurial spirit and it’s this spirit that is going to help us realize our clean energy goals,” said CEC Vice Chair Janea A. Scott. ”Through the CEC’s EPIC research program, CalSEED is helping innovators turn great ideas into implementable solutions and providing benefits to California ratepayers.” 

Since 2017, 71 projects have received initial CalSEED grants totaling $10.6 million. Ten of those projects have received follow-on funding totaling $4.5 million.

In addition to funding, CalSEED gives innovators access to technical expertise, mentoring, and business development training through its network of companies, nonprofits, universities, and clean energy incubators.

 “CalSEED propels clean energy ideas into commercially viable startups. This flagship program not only creates a path for innovative entrepreneurs to realize their dreams, but for California and the world to realize our ambitious climate goals,” said New Energy Nexus Chief Energy Officer Danny Kennedy. “CalSEED is only one piece of the puzzle; we need thousands of successful clean energy startups get to market as soon as possible if we are to achieve 100 percent clean energy for 100 percent of the community and prevent climate change from worsening.”

Today’s grantees include: 

  • Modesto-based Stasis Group is working on a retrofit project that reduces energy consumption and peak demand for cooling in commercial buildings by integrating a thermal energy storage system into HVAC systems and combining it with a unique control system. The award will allow Stasis to finetune a prototype and conduct field installations to demonstrate real-world electric cost savings.
  • Empow Lighting of Sacramento is developing a low-cost, thin and flexible fluorescent-to-LED lighting retrofit project that requires no rewiring or training. The company will use the funds to design full-scale working prototypes and test the technology’s performance.
  • Maxout Renewables is developing a low-cost, all-in-one solar inverter that combines panel optimization, battery storage, and emergency back-up capability. The Livermore-based company will use the award to complete battery technology development, manufacture prototype units, and conduct tests.
  • InPipe Energy’s project is a first-of-its-kind control valve that captures energy that would otherwise be lost from pressurized release valves in water pipelines. The Chino company will use the funds to demonstrate the project at a water agency. 
  • Palos Verdes Estates-based GenH is developing and deploying a first-of-its-kind, rapidly deployable, modular system that electrifies non-powered dams and canal heads without construction or investment in fixed infrastructure. The system moves water over the dam to turbines downstream providing energy production without the need for storage at half the energy cost of natural gas.
  • Skycool Systems of Mountain View is working on a project to reduce energy and water use in data center cooling systems through panels that radiate heat, consume no water, and use only enough energy to run a pump. The company will use the grant to continue modeling efforts and deploy a test system to demonstrate the cooling performance of the panels.

More details are available in the CEC’s business meeting agenda.

CalSEED information on 71 projects awarded more than $10 million. The Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program invests more than $130 million annually in cutting edge technologies


About the California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is leading the state to a 100 percent clean energy future. It has seven core responsibilities: developing renewable energy, transforming transportation, increasing energy efficiency, investing in energy innovation, advancing state energy policy, certifying thermal power plants, and preparing for energy emergencies.

About New Energy Nexus

New Energy Nexus is a non-profit international organization that supports clean energy entrepreneurs with funds, accelerators and networks. We started in California and now operate programs in New York, China, India, Southeast Asia, and East Africa.