CalSEED invests in 5 to 10 projects per Concept Award funding round with a maximum of $150,000 per project. With up to three funding rounds per year, CalSEED typically invests around $3.6 million annually in California’s most promising sustainable energy entrepreneurs. Additionally, the CalSEED program holds an annual Business Plan Competition for all Concept Awardees. Winners of the Business Plan Competition will receive up to $450,000 in additional funding.
CalSEED is funded by the California Energy Commission – specifically, the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program. The EPIC Program was developed to create new energy solutions, foster regional innovation, and bring clean energy ideas to the marketplace. To find out more about the California Energy Commission and the EPIC Program, visit www.energy.ca.gov/research/epic.
CalSEED might develop technology-specific funding rounds but for the time being, all ideas are welcome. CalSEED is not opposed to investing in multiple companies with similar technologies. The most important aspect of the application is the benefit your technology has on California Ratepayers.
For many of our partners, CalSEED is only a small portion of what they do. To find out more about those involved in the CalSEED program, check out our partners’ page.
No. The CalSEED program not only includes grant money but an assortment of mentorship, training, and technical assistance to help develop your project. Some of the benefits for awardees are listed below.
CalSEED is managed by multiple partners throughout California. While there is not an official CalSEED office, you can find CalSEED affiliates and partners across the state.
Yes. Check out the Intent to Apply form. This will make sure you are in the CalSEED system. We will contact you when the application process begins.
No. CalSEED does not require a separate business plan. All information needed for the review process can be found in the Application and Application Attachments.
CalSEED is open to all individuals and public and private entities (except for local publicly owned electric utilities). If you are a sole proprietor doing business under a fictitious name, you must be registered with the appropriate county in California in order to win an award. If you are applying as a corporation, LLC, LP, or LLP, and plan to conduct business within California, you must be registered and in good standing with the California Secretary of State in order to win an award.
Because CalSEED is funded by California ratepayers and with the mission to benefit California ratepayers, your presence in California and/or proposed benefit to California ratepayers will be considered when evaluating your application.
The CalSEED team will provide assistance in the form of online webinars, presentations, and the application manual. CalSEED staff cannot assist individual applicants with the development of their application.
The application will take about 90-120 minutes to complete if you are a familiar with your project and the grant application process. Expect to spend additional time gathering the necessary documents and completing the few supporting attachments.
If you are selected as an Awardee, the CalSEED team will perform due diligence to ensure the project goals are achievable. The team will also assist awardees with the development of the budget and a detailed Scope of Work before a contract is signed by you and the California Energy Commission.
Make sure to fill out the Intent to Apply form found here. This will ensure you receive all emails regarding application openings, information sessions, and deadlines.
Yes. Just make sure different applications have different Project Names.
CalSEED will not award two separate projects with the same lead applicant. However, past awardees can serve as project team members on multiple projects.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All applications will undergo a preliminary review to ensure each application meets the minimum requirements. The CalSEED team will contact any applicant who needs to provide additional information. At that time, you will be notified and will have 48 hours to fix the issue.
If you become a CalSEED awardee, you will be contacted by CalSEED to handle all due diligence, budget development, and legal items. From there, you will receive your funding and access to the many other benefits of being part of the CalSEED team. You will have up to 18 months to complete the milestones discussed in your scope of work.
No. To prevent bias towards projects or teams who have already acquired funding, the CalSEED application does not require or score any amount of match funding.
Your project can be a technology or an idea. Applications are scored on their benefits to California Ratepayers and Disadvantaged Area Communities.
CalSEED will not sign an NDA.
No. CalSEED will fund anyone with a good idea that benefits California Ratepayers and Disadvantaged Area Communities.
Yes. CalSEED is open to awarding individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and research institutions.
No. Any individual, company, or organization is eligible to apply. Entities that are planning to conduct business in California must be registered in California in order to win an award.
Depending on the amount of applications, the CalSEED team expects the review process to take 1-2 months.
Whether you are awarded the funds or not, CalSEED will contact you by email.
Yes. If your project was not funded, you are free to apply again.
Any individual, company, or organization is eligible to apply. Business entities that are planning to conduct business in California must be registered in California, but physical presence is not a requirement. The important thing to keep in mind is that applications are evaluated based on potential benefit to California ratepayers.
CalSEED applicants working on early-stage innovations, from concept to basic prototype, are qualified to apply. Your project can be a technology, idea, product, or process. We are looking for projects that benefit the providers of CalSEED funds: people in California who pay electricity bills.
CalSEED is targeting innovations at the earliest stages of development – from concept to basic prototype. This encompasses innovations at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 1-5. For further guidance, please consult the United States Department of Energy Technology Readiness Assessment Guide.
Any individual, company, or organization is eligible to apply. Business entities that are planning to conduct business in California must be registered in California in order to win an award. The sooner, the better, as this can take time and in order to receive the award you should already be registered in CA. You do not need to be registered before applying.
While you cannot submit additional documents beyond those requested, it is acceptable to include images in the 1-page project summary slide (see page 14 of the CalSEED application manual).
The project summary slide template is available for download through a link on the online application in the SmartSimple portal.
If you want to change your project name, you can do so by starting a new application and submitting a new preliminary questionnaire. You will not be penalized for doing so since the review team will only review fully completed applications. Once you have submitted a preliminary questionnaire, you cannot go back and edit it but you can start a new application.
The review process will take around 2-3 months from the deadline, depending on how many completed applications we receive. CalSEED will notify you at that time if you were selected for an award.
The workshop presentation is available in the Apply section of the website. Unfortunately, a recording is not available.
Online applications are due by 11:59pm Pacific time on February 10th. All mail-in applications must be postmarked by February 10th.
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 information.
Applications are evaluated according to their proposed benefit to California ratepayers, so we encourage you to frame your application around those benefits.
You can Save Draft to preserve your progress in an application, but you cannot edit a submitted application. You may create as many applications as you would like, but the review team will only consider submitted applications.
Letters of support can be from partners, potential customers, or acquaintances to serve as references for your project or team. Please note that Letters of Support are not required.
Yes. In the online application, the interactive form will tell you how many characters you have left as you compose your responses.
You are encouraged to take advantage of our regional cluster partners, but you are not required to do so for the CalSEED application and your relationship with clusters will not affect the scoring of your application. In the CalSEED application, we ask you to describe any relationships you have with clusters so that we can make sure your application is not reviewed by a reviewer who is already familiar with your project.
The online application provides a fillable form for you to enter the details of your Scope of Work. Please use this form as instructed to describe your milestones, tasks, and deliverables. The Scope of Work should describe how you would use a Concept Award.
No, a developed prototype will not be a requirement.
There will be a maximum of 3 Concept Award cohorts per year. In the event there are too many applications to review for one Cohort, applications will be reviewed in batches. No further cohorts will be held until all original applications have been reviewed. The amount of cohorts as well as specific dates and application review timelines are subject to change. There will be at least one cohort each year.