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How to apply

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

Application steps

1 Determine whether you are eligible

The technology areas being funded changes each year, so it is very important that you review them before beginning your application. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria and/or your innovation does not fit within one of the technology categories, your application will be disqualified. More information about eligibility below.

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

The application questions are available for review and practice before the application window opens. Check back in early January, 2023 to view our application questions.

4 Review the terms and conditions

CalSEED awardees must agree to the terms and conditions, including providing a detailed scope of work, budget, additional provisions and any other important documents and contact information. See below for more information about terms and conditions.

5 Understand the importance of impact and social equity

Within your application you will be asked to identify how the proposed technology can create economic opportunities, increase access to clean energy solutions, decrease pollution burden, be deployed in a disadvantaged community and/or low-income community, or improve the resiliency and reliability of electricity services impacted by extreme weather-related events (ex. wildfires).

6 Attend an information session and review the FAQ’s

CalSEED hosts information sessions to go over the application manual and process as well as answer any questions you may have. Information sessions for 2023 will be:

In case you missed the info session you can view the recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvDsG-QLPws

7 Complete the initial application online

The initial application takes about an hour to complete through Smart and Simple. If your application passes the eligibility screening you will be asked to fill out the full application.

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 will be used to determine which applicants will be asked to complete a full application and advance to the review committee. 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

Technology Areas

For the 2023 Concept Awards, applications are being accepted for only these technologies

Energy Storage

Non-lithium-ion short-duration technologies with reduced capital and life-cycle cost, better lifetime performance, access to greater depth of discharge, reduced degradation over time, better round-trip efficiency, and improved supply-chain diversity relative to lithium-ion battery systems.

Long-duration storage technologies capable of storing energy for 8 hours or longer, specifically: flow batteries, advanced battery chemistries such as solid-state batteries, flywheels, compressed air, liquid air systems, molten salt, molten sulfur, or gravity storage.

Technologies that advance low-impact recovery of lithium and other co-products from geothermal brine.

DER Integration
and Load
Flexibility

Advanced machine learning or AI techniques to improve forecasting behind-the-meter solar photovoltaics, storage, and load flexibility

Low-cost, modular, and replicable behind-the-meter direct current power systems that enable efficient, clean, and reliable power for electric vehicles and other direct current end-uses.

Modular power electronics technologies that can safely enable behind-the-meter renewable generation systems to provide backup power functionality at reduced cost.

Advanced flexible load technologies and tools to facilitate and increase grid resiliency and demand response in the industrial, agricultural, and water sectors.

Open-source data and management controls that can be used by Virtual Power Plant aggregators and others to aggregate customer loads, manage the loads to grid conditions, and provide grid services needed to support a clean and resilient electric grid.

Advances in control technologies, sensors, and communication systems to increase reliability and interoperability of flexible loads and DERs for building automation.

Transportation
Electrification

High efficiency charging devices and systems that reduce electric losses and costs of electric vehicle charging.

High-power electric drive systems for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle applications.

Innovative reuse and recycling technologies for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries to conserve critical materials, promote material sustainability, reduce environmental impacts, or reduce the cost of new storage products by lowering material costs.

Building Decarbonization

High efficiency 120-volt and 240-volt heat pump water heaters or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning heat pumps that use low-global warming potential refrigerants.

New building envelope technologies such as thermal storage or phase change materials, or manufacturing processes to reduce the cost of highly efficient advanced building retrofit solutions.

Next generation heat pump system that combines hot water and space conditioning into a packaged, modular unit.

Innovative HVAC decarbonization solutions for large commercial buildings, specifically: hybrid low-GWP electric heat pump systems, low-cost large air-source and water-source heat pumps that use low-GWP refrigerants, non-vapor compression cooling, solid-state cooling, or ground-source heat pumps.

Industrial Decarbonization

Low-carbon, high-temperature industrial heating solutions, specifically: direct electrification technologies or high-temperature heat pumps.

Energy efficiency and decarbonization technologies for concrete manufacturing, specifically: advancements in electrically driven carbon capture and utilization to increase its energy efficiency; alternative raw materials, chemistries, or processes for the production of cement and concrete, including substitutes that enable electrification technologies by reducing temperature requirements.

Innovative electric-driven separation technologies in the industrial sector, specifically in food processing, chemicals, water desalination, wastewater treatment, or carbon capture.

Technology Types

HardwareSoftwareIntegrated Solution

Description

Physical components—tools, machinery, durable equipment—that require design and testing

Software 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 system

An 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

Examples

Manufacturing equipment; sensors; components; transmission and distribution infrastructure improvements; equipment

Smart 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 system

Solutions 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 Scope

Project 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 platforms

Single 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.

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