SANTA ROSA,Calif. – Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) has officially opened the Advanced Energy Center in downtown Santa Rosa. The Advanced Energy Center, made possible in part through a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), creates an interactive educational experience that brings clean, energy-saving solutions directly to SCP customers.
In 2018, SCP was awarded an $8.9M grant from the CEC’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program to turn the idea of the Advanced Energy Center into a reality. EPIC is the state’s premier clean energy research and development program investing more than $130 million annually in projects that advance the environmental sustainability, reliability, and affordability of the electric system.
“What Sonoma Clean Power is doing with the Advanced Energy Center is a bold and groundbreaking model for others,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild. “The Energy Commission is proud to support this effort to bring the climate-friendly cooking experience and new construction technologies directly to interested Californians. This type of education and awareness is critical as the state doubles down on reducing emissions from buildings by using clean energy to power more things.”
While the Advanced Energy Center is not a retail store, customers can seamlessly connect directly with manufacturers, as well as certified installation professionals, to bring their retrofit projects to life. From induction stovetops to heat pump water heaters, smart thermostats and ventilation systems, the Advanced Energy Center provides visitors with a hands-on tutorial in moving away from gas-fueled appliances to more sustainable, cleaner, and long-term cost saving options. Additionally, SCP customers are eligible for incentives, including 0% interest on-bill financing of up to $10,000.
Several of the technologies and appliances featured within the Advanced Energy Center were first vetted by the Grant’s initial research phase, “Lead Locally,” in which SCP retrofitted 43 homes and 18 businesses with advanced energy technologies for free, minus installation costs. SCP was able to measure and compare the efficiency and performance of these new products in real-life situations and continues to collect data from these sites.
“Clean energy is for everyone, and that’s really what we want to demonstrate through our Advanced Energy Center,” said Geof Syphers, SCP’s Chief Executive Officer. “By making these technologies familiar, attractive, and accessible, we can equip our customers with the information and incentives they need to be part of the solution. We know people want to save energy and help the climate, but it’s not always easy to figure out how. The Advanced Energy Center will help ensure everyone has a chance to upgrade their homes in ways that help us transition to a healthier, clean energy future.”
The public is invited to explore displays of new technologies, attend virtual and in-person energy-related workshops and classes, watch induction cooking demonstrations by local chefs, enjoy flexible financing options for upgrading their homes or businesses, and take a deeper look at the benefits of being an SCP customer.
Added Syphers, “The Advanced Energy Center marks an entirely new venture for SCP, the CEC, and the State, and sets the stage for Sonoma and Mendocino counties to lead the transition toward highly efficient clean energy homes and buildings.”
Since its launch in 2014 as the local public power provider, SCP has spearheaded several incentive offerings and community efforts aimed at solving the climate crisis. In addition to its default energy service, CleanStart, which is 50% renewable compared to PG&E’s 29% renewable default service (and 97% carbon-free), SCP customers can choose to upgrade to EverGreen, the only 100% renewable, locally produced energy service in the United States operating 24/7 – both day and night. SCP also accelerated the local adoption of electric vehicles through its successful three-year Drive EV incentive program, which helped over 1,250 customers make the switch.