2020 Applications are closed.
We encourage you to join the New Energy Nexus Mailing List for updates on 2021 CalTestBed Opportunities and other Clean Energy funding, accelerator, and incubator information! As well as the CEC Empower Innovation Network for additional funding opportunities.
Read the Application Manual for the 2020 CalTestBed Voucher Applications
Consider the Eligibility Criteria and Testbed Directory to Determine Your Eligibility to Apply
Participate in the 2020 CalTestBed Voucher Applicant Webinar
Review the 2020 CalTestBed Voucher Application Questions and Technical Reviewers’ Scoring Rubric
Create Your Login and Password in the SmartSimple Portal
Complete your Online Application by the Deadline as Listed
The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), in partnership with the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), Momentum, and Los Angeles Cleantech Institute (LACI), proposes to develop, implement and administer the California Test Bed Initiative (CalTestBed). This $11 million program will provide vouchers of between $10,000 and $300,000 to 60 of California’s clean energy entrepreneurs—for redemption at any of nearly 30 initial DER testing and verification facilities currently operating within the University of California system, representing the unprecedented commitment of 9 University of California campuses and LBNL. By streamlining access to these facilities, CalTestBed will assist entrepreneurs in refining their technology prototypes to better meet customer specifications while accelerating some of California’s most promising clean energy technologies on the pathway to successful commercialization.
CalTestBed enhances electricity reliability by increasing the array of clean energy and energy efficient technologies ready for commercialization, and funds the testing and validation of emerging technologies. CalTestBed will support California innovators who find it difficult to negotiate the testbed ecosystem and increases the reliability of the energy products for ratepayers.
CalTestBed develops and streamlines the feedback process among testbeds to meet customer safety specifications, as well as supporting the standardization of “customer-facing” services by testbeds to the innovation community. Through the CalTestBed Network, the Ombudspeople coordinates California testbeds to standardize safety testing and certifications and develop best practices for managing the testbed—entrepreneur relationship.
CalTestBed dramatically lowers costs to ratepayers by accelerating new clean energy technologies to the market that offer energy efficiency and lower costs, as well as decreases the cost to ratepayers of unsafe and ineffective new clean energy products. By supporting faster commercialization of new clean energy products, societal costs of older non-renewable and inefficient energy products will be reduced. The program/initiative also lowers future costs in testbeds by developing additional revenues to continue to sustain and expand California’s burgeoning testbed assets.
What is the primary purpose of CalTestBed?
The primary purpose of CalTestBed is to increase access to elite testbeds for entrepreneurs to test and validate their innovations, in order to bring new clean energy technologies to market. Testbeds are scattered across the country and often operate amongst themselves. The private sector has historically underfunded testing and validation, which has slowed the commercialization and deployment efforts of innovative clean energy innovations. CalTestBed unifies an ecosystem of nearly 30 testbeds across the University of California system and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and conducts a solicitation, review, and selection process to match qualified applicants with the proper laboratory capabilities, in effect streamlining and accelerating the process for entrepreneurs to bring their technology to market.
CalTestBed provides vouchers to California entrepreneurs, researchers, and businesses to redeem at participating testbeds for testing and validation of their technologies.
Where does the funding for CalTestBed come from?
CalTestBed is a funding initiative of the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). The purpose of EPIC is to accelerate the development and adoption of new low-carbon technology solutions for California’s electricity sector. To find out more about EPIC and other Energy Commission activities and funding opportunities for research and development, please visit: http://www.energy.ca.gov/research
How does CalTestBed differ from other funding opportunities through EPIC?
CalTestBed awards address a critical gap in access to world class testing and validation for prototypes, which is critical to bringing new energy innovations to market. To find out more about other EPIC funding opportunities, visit: http://www.energy.ca.gov/contracts/epic.html
How much are the vouchers worth?
CalTestBed provides Tier One awards, ranging from $10,000-$50,000 and Tier Two awards, ranging $50,000-$300,000.
Can I use portions of the voucher funding to pay for staff expenses, purchase testing equipment, or for any other reason other than access to the testing facilities?
CalTestBed is not designed to fund the making of a prototype or hire additional help, but rather test and validate that of a prototype. Voucher recipients will only receive access to the world-class testing facilities included in our network.
How often do you accept applications?
The number of application cycles will vary based on a variety of factors including the volume of applications received in each cycle. We anticipate having the initial solicitation in Q1 of 2020 with annual solicitations following.
Should I reach out to a Regional Energy Innovation Cluster?
You are encouraged to take advantage of our regional cluster partners, but you are not required to do so for the CalTestBed application and your relationship with clusters will not affect the scoring of your application.
Does CalTestBed have an office?
CalTestBed is administered by the New Energy Nexus whose offices are in Oakland, CA. New Energy Nexus works with multiple partners throughout the state to manage the application process and provide professional development services to entrepreneurs.
Do I have to be in California?
Yes: for the Q1 2020 solicitation, you must have a California address at time of application to be eligible. We will ask for your address in the eligibility application; you must list your official business address or, if applying as an individual, the personal address of the lead applicant.
If you are selected to win a voucher, you must be registered with the appropriate county in California and must be in good standing with the California Secretary of State before accepting the award. This is not required at time of application.
Do I have to be a US citizen?
Can I apply for funding without being a company?
Yes. CalTestBed is open to awarding individuals and businesses.
Am I eligible to apply for CalTestBed if I have already received an EPIC award through another program?
I’ve already been funded by CalSEED. Can I apply to CalTestBed?
Can I apply with the same idea in the next funding round?
Yes. If your project was not funded, you are free to apply again.
I have two ideas. Can I submit two applications?
No – for this solicitation, we are only accepting one application per lead applicant. You may be on the team for a different application with a different innovation, but not as the lead applicant. Similarly, we are only accepting one application per idea – duplicate applications from multiple team members will be rejected.
Does this program require any match funding?
No match funding is required and having match funding does not increase your chance of receiving an award.
Will you sign an NDA?
CalTestBed will not sign an NDA.
If we are not signing an NDA, how will my ideas be protected?
Applications will not be published but will be in the public record and available upon request. We recommend giving enough detail so that the review team can adequately judge your application without disclosing confidential and proprietary information
Is there a specific technology that will score higher than others on the application?
CalTestBed is not opposed to providing vouchers for multiple companies with similar technologies.
Does my project have to be a technology?
You are required to have a prototype ready for testing to be eligible for a CalTestBed voucher.
Does my project/technology/idea qualify?
CalTestBed applicants must have a prototype ready for testing, and the testing requirements must be included in the testing capabilities listed in the CalTestBed Directory.
What types of innovations are eligible for funding?
CalTestBed is focused on funding prototype technologies (TRL 5-7) that have the potential for providing benefits including lower cost, greater reliability and improved safety for to the ratepayers of California. We are specifically looking for hardware and integrated solutions. No stand-alone software solutions will be considered.
Is there a preferred format or template for the 1 page Project Summary? What information should be provided in this document?
Thanks you for your interest in the CalTestBed program, and your question about a summary template. We do not have a template, but expect a brief summary of the prototype you wish to test, what it does, and what kind of information you are looking to discover through the testing process.
Can we include a Letter of Support from respective clients, lab facilities, or other parties in our network?
To ensure that each applicant is reviewed on the same criteria, we are not accepting letters of support for this application process. This is also a measure to eliminate issues surrounding conflict of interest in the application process. The voucher applications will be scored based solely on the eligibility and scoring criteria listed in the application.
Can we apply multiple times for CalTestBed funding for different prototypes but are housed under the same organization/entity?
We’re thrilled that your organization is so productive that you have multiple prototypes that you are interested in testing, however, only one application per organization will be considered for a voucher.
Can we redeem the voucher at a facility that is not listed in the Directory?
Those facilities that have not been listed in the directory are not currently part of the program offering.
If the campus determines in the future that they would like to include those facilities or any other additional facilities, we are happy to expand the offering and include those additions in the directory for the next round.
Is there any other funding or resource opportunities that are available for clean energy entrepreneurs?
We encourage you to join the New Energy Nexus Mailing List for other Clean Energy funding, accelerator, and incubator information! As well as the CEC Empower Innovation Network for additional funding opportunities.