Skip to main content

Find out how our unique program helps cleantech startups bridge the “valley of death.

How to apply

CalSEED gives grants to early-stage clean energy innovators throughout California

Application steps

1 Determine whether you are eligible

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

2 Read the application manual

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

3 Review application questions

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

4 Review the terms and conditions

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

5 Understand the importance of impact and social equity

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

6 Attend an information session and review the FAQ’s

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

7 Complete the initial application online

Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, please read the application manual. This resource will give you detailed information on important dates, technical readiness levels, equity and inclusion, and so much more.

Eligibility

CalSEED seeks applications from individuals, businesses and nonprofits that are working on early stage innovations — from concept to basic prototype.
Specifically, CalSEED seeks hardware, software, or integrated solutions that fall between Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 2-4 on the DOE defined TRL scale.
Eligibility criteria is set by the California Energy Commission and is the first thing the technical review committee looks at when scoring applications. Please only apply if you can respond yes to the following statements:

  • The proposed innovation benefits California ratepayers — through either greater reliability, lower utility costs, and/or increased safety
  • You are located in California, can provide your California address, and are in good standing with the California Secretary of State
  • Your company is under the $1 Million private funding cap
  • Your concept is on the pre-demonstration scale (Technology Readiness Level 2-4)
  • Your innovation fits within one of the specified technology areas below

Each year, the technology areas we are looking for change. This year we are looking for hardware, software and integrated solution innovations that address the following areas:

 

Energy EfficiencyHigh performance insulation materials, High-performance windows, Dynamic glazing and façade systems, Dynamic PV glazing, Novel evaporative cooling techniques, Personal comfort devices, Advanced lighting control systems, Advanced building construction technologies, Smart Manufacturing and Industrial Processes, Smart building automation (including controls), Next generation energy-efficient advanced computing
Load ModifyingAdvanced automation and control of energy flexible load, Intelligent distributed energy resources integration with transactive energy, Next generation heat pumps and systems with load flexibility, Vehicle-to-grid advanced automated controls, standardized/low-cost/secure distributed grid communications and controls
Energy StorageNovel mechanical storage technologies using pumped hydro, compressed air, or gravity storage, High temperature thermal energy storage (TES) systems, New phase change materials, Solid state batteries
Grid EnhancementsVirtual Power Plants, Climate/Weather Risk Predictive Methods
Renewable ElectricityTechnologies to enable offshore wind; Improved biomass power generation; Enhanced geothermal systems and Flexible-mode geothermal energy production; Materials, manufacturing and module assembly methods for emerging thin film solar PV such as perovskites, quantum dots, and organic semiconductors
Electric vehicle charging and powertrain technologiesNext generation technologies that increase efficiency or performance; Ultra-fast electric transportation charging, High-power electric drive for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle applications
Advanced technologies that enable water savingsCommunications and controls for precision irrigation, Novel energy efficient treatment methods for conventional and non-conventional sources of water supply, Advanced wastewater treatment techniques, Advanced energy efficiency improvements to allow for on-site wastewater treatment and reuse for industrial facilities and water-intensive industries

We fund the follow types of technology defined below with examples.

 

HardwareSoftwareIntegrated Solutions
DescriptionPhysical components—tools, machinery, durable equipment—that require design and testingSoftware or digital technology that is based on advanced data science approaches and algorithms, such as machine learning, that provides information and analysis used in the planning and operation of a safe, reliable, and resilient electricity systemAn innovative combination of software and hardware where the software is based on advanced data science approaches and algorithms, such as machine learning, that directly controls or communicates with energy-related hardware components and devices
ExamplesManufacturing equipment; sensors; components; transmission and distribution infrastructure improvements; equipmentSmart learning from data/real-time modeling; algorithms for grid reliability and control; demand response or distributed energy solutions; sophisticated analytical tools for assessing climate-related risks to the electric systemSolutions which leverage software and hardware to increase efficiency and resilience of the grid and/or solve community access issues (e.g. vehicle to grid concepts)
Out of ScopeProject financing for already existing technologies; manufacturing line scale up; funding a commercial scale prototype; infrastructure projects; natural gas projects Customer acquisition software; apps/games; website development for an existing company; training and/or workforce development platformsSingle non-replicable solutions; concepts that are not novel or innovative in application

Know before you apply!

If CalSEED funding seems right for you, check out the contractual terms and conditions. Reading them is not only in your best interest but will provide you with important information on what is required of you by signing this contract. Seriously, go read it. Don’t apply before reading!

Terms & conditions

FAQ

Check out our in-depth FAQ’s page to get answers to your questions. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, you can reach out at info@calseed.fund. Please note that we do not take phone calls and due to the small size of our team may need up to 3 business days to respond to emails.

Get answers
Kevin Kung, CEO, Takachar
"CalSEED has been instrumental in advancing our marketing and technical goals in California, and in doing so, discovering new partners through its networks and events.”
—Kevin Kung, CEO, Takachar
Sven Dybdahl, Director, EH Group Technologies Inc
"Participation in CALSEED has cemented our ambitions to actively grow the California hydrogen ecosystem. Valuable introductions have been only the tip of the iceberg of what we have benefitted."
—Sven Dybdahl, Director, EH Group Technologies Inc
Tim Barat, CEO & Co-Founder, Gridware
“The support and credibility boost Gridware received from CalSEED catapulted our company to early success in building our team and raising money.”
—Tim Barat, CEO & Co-Founder, Gridware

About the program

CalSEED provides Concept Awards to promising innovators, awarding them $150,000 in grant funding, unprecedented professional development resources, and access to the best accelerator and incubator programs in California. Concept Award winners are also eligible to compete for a $450,000 Prototype Award in the annual Business Plan Competition.

Signup for our mailing list to get up-to-date info about our upcoming funding opportunities!

Newsletter Signup