The EPIC Program Invests $1B for Clean Energy in California – What it is and how to apply
The EPIC program is a Clean Energy investment initiative by the California Energy Commission. The program invests more than $130 million annually on projects that advance the electric system’s environmental sustainability, reliability, and affordability. So far, the EPIC program has resulted in over $7.8 billion in private investment and has supported over 430 projects.
The EPIC program is significant because it provides funding for projects whose core company values are based on improving the environmental sustainability, reliability, and affordability of the electric system. These projects include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, advancing safe and resilient energy systems, and supporting the state’s farmers.
The EPIC program has been successful in attracting private investment and helping to address some of California’s primary environmental issues. For example, a total of $232 million has been authorized for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing the affordability, health, and convenience of houses and businesses.
If you are interested in learning more about this program’s investments and opportunities for startups in this space, we will discuss how to get involved and who is eligible for these programs in this article.
Who is eligible to apply?
The EPIC program (Electric Program Investment Charge) is a long-term investment plan by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to deploy up to $1 billion for electric program clean energy projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals. EPIC funds will be used to support eligible applicants’ electric program clean energy projects that fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Applied research and development: All Applied Research & Technology Demonstration and Deployment initiatives must be in the pre-commercial stage: New technologies or upgrades to existing technologies that are not commercially accessible in California are considered pre-commercial.
- Technology demonstration and deployment: Demonstrating the technology and putting it into practice must include a plan for assessing, verifying, and quantifying project gains. Applicants must submit a Measurement and Verification Plan in the “Project Narrative” section of their applications.
- Market facilitation: The goal for companies in this sector is to assist early-stage companies in developing a viable business model based on new technologies or ideas. Empowerment and growth are other objectives, but reviewers may achieve them only after addressing non-technical fundamental barriers.
CPUC intends for EPIC funding to complement other states, federal, local government, investor-owned utility, and private sector programs and incentives that promote electric program clean energy technologies and solutions.
The program is open to individuals, companies, and startups. Applicants that fall into one of the three categories above, whose goals are aimed at overcoming the barriers that prevent the achievement of the state’s energy goals, will receive funding that can be used to cover costs such as salary, equipment, and facility rental. If you are working on a project that has the potential to revolutionize California’s energy landscape, you can apply for EPIC grant funding here.
What are the application requirements?
These grants are available for a variety of projects, including (but not limited to):
- Developing new energy technologies
- Demonstrating advanced energy technologies
- Researching energy issues
- Creating educational resources on energy topics
Interested applicants must describe how the project will meet these requirements by completing the “Project Narrative” attachment and the “Goals and Objectives” section of the Scope of Work as outlined in this EPIC grant funding opportunities presentation.
Projects selected for funding will be required to provide semi-annual reports on their progress and a final project report after the project.
How much funding is available?
The California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program invests more than $130 million annually on projects that align with their requirements and initiatives. EPIC has a broad portfolio of investments, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, and grid technologies. EPIC has invested in various project types, including demonstration projects, research and development, and deployment projects.
To date, EPIC has supported more than 430 projects with $1 billion in funding resulting in $7.8 billion in private investment raised by awardees ranging from major universities to small startup companies. EPIC is one of California’s most prominent early-stage clean energy technologies investors.
The Commission will determine the amount each company is entitled to upon selection based on the project’s scope, objectives, and budget.
What is match funding?
Match funding is a type of funding in which other entities provide funding to share the total cost of the specific project they are applying for. Match funding is required only for Technology Demonstration and Deployment projects. The minimum amount of match funding that is needed is 20% of the requested project funds.
Applicants that provide more than the minimum will receive additional points during the scoring phase. Match funding can come from various sources, including private companies, other government agencies, or nonprofit organizations.
In some cases, investors may provide matching funds in-kind, such as through the donation of equipment or services. Ultimately, match funding helps to broaden the base of support for a given project and can make it more likely to succeed.
What is the review process?
Applications will be reviewed by a team of technical experts who will score each application according to the following criteria: technical merit, feasibility, benefits to ratepayers and/or the environment, cost-effectiveness, and leveraging of other funding sources.
EPIC utilizes a two-stage review process for all submissions. Stage One is an Application Screening, during which proposals are evaluated according to specific Screening Criteria. Only those applications that meet the screening criteria will move on to Stage two. The submissions are evaluated in stage two according to specific technical scoring criteria.
EPIC staff members will interview all applications with a score of 70% or above to clarify project goals and objectives. After all of the interviews have been conducted, all applications will be ranked according to their score, and the top-ranked projects will be invited to submit a full proposal.
Once this is done, and the clarification interviews have been conducted, the final ranking of applications is determined. Successful applicants are notified of the results of the review process.
We can help
If a startup meets the desired criteria for EPIC, M Accelerator can help them get involved in the grant program and access opportunities for funding.
In addition to providing financial support, M Accelerator also offers coaching programs, mentorship, and resources to help startups grow and scale their businesses. For more information on our programs and Founders Cohorts please visit our site today!