GFO-20-303 – Advanced Plug Load and Smart Exterior Lighting Systems

Departmental Grant ID:
Portal ID:
Closed (11 total applications submitted)
Opportunity Type:
  • Grant
Last Updated:



The purpose of this solicitation is to fund applied research and technology demonstration projects to advance innovative technologies for controlling plug load and exterior lighting energy use.


The objectives of this solicitation are:

  • Plug loads: reduce electricity use of active and standby modes for residential and commercial plug load devices, provide information that may inform future updates to codes and standards and reduce commercial plug load electricity use with advanced controls integrated with building energy management systems (BEMS)
  • Exterior lighting:  reduce exterior lighting electricity use and load through use of solid-state lighting, improvements in fixture efficiency and form factor, and controls to maximize use of carbon-free electricity.

Plug loads accounted for 40% of California residential electricity consumption and 27% of California commercial electricity consumption in 2018. With more and more devices being brought into and used in buildings, it is expected that the total energy use for plug loads is expected to increase in the future. Plug load devices are typically not monitored nor controlled. Many of these devices have no power management capabilities and are left on 24/7.

Exterior lighting is a major energy use for municipalities and the commercial building sector. Based on comments from community-based organizations, poor exterior lighting is one of the main concerns among residents of low-income communities. Exterior lighting uses electricity when the grid is not powered by carbon-free electricity

The solicitation will have three funding groups:

Group 1: Analyze and Test Total Energy Consumption of Plug Load Devices to Support California Codes and Standards for Non-covered Products - Analyze the devices not currently covered by California or US Standards, determine their total energy consumption (standby and active mode) and identify those with the most potential for consideration in future energy efficiency or load management code and standards.

Group 2: Demonstrate the Integration of Smart Plug Load Controls and Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) in Commercial Buildings – Demonstrate the integration of existing building energy management systems (BEMS) with advanced smart plug controls. The demonstration goals are to: 1) verify data flows between the smart plug load controls and BEMS platforms, 2) identify additional enhancements needed to improve and make it easier for building owners to control and coordinate with other building energy end-uses to reduce the cost of implementation and 3) increase functionality, such as provide for grid and load management through price signals.

Group 3:  Demonstrate Smart Exterior Solid-State Lighting in Low-Income or Disadvantaged Communities – Develop, test and demonstrate innovative exterior luminaires to determine energy performance, potential for grid flexibility and other criteria determined in partnership with low income or disadvantaged communities. Goal is to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 20%, provide strategies to maximize use of low or no carbon electricity (e.g., renewable energy), improve light quality, security, and glare reduction, and enhance visibility and safety for drivers and pedestrians.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Applicants:

  • Nonprofit
  • Public Agency

This solicitation is open to all public and private entities with the exception of local publicly owned electric utilities. In accordance with CPUC Decision 12-05-037, funds administered by the CEC may not be used for any purposes associated with local publicly owned electric utility activities. A local publicly owned electric utility is an entity as defined in California Public Utilities Code section 224.3.

Eligible Geographies:

All test, demonstration or deployment sites (Groups 2 and 3) must be located in a California electric IOU service territory (Pacific Gas and Electric Co., San Diego Gas and Electric Co., or Southern California Edison Co.).  In addition, for Group 3 projects, all demonstration sites must be located in disadvantaged or low-income communities and meet the requirements of the Group 3 Scoring Requirements in Section IV.F, Scoring Criteria 8.

Matching Funding Requirement:

Match funding is required in the amount of at least 20% of the requested project funds for Groups 2 and 3 only. Applicants that provide more than this amount will receive additional points during the scoring phase (See Part IV). There is no minimum match requirement for Group 1. Applicants that provide match will receive additional points during the scoring phase (See Part IV.F).

Important Dates

The date (and time, where applicable) by which all applications must be submitted to the grantmaker. Time listed as “00:00” equates to midnight.
The date on which the grantor expects to announce the recipient(s) of the grant.
November 2, 2020 
The length of time during which the grant money must be utilized.
Until funds expire 

Funding Details

The total projected dollar amount of the grant.
A single grant opportunity may represent one or many awards. Some grantors may know in advance the exact number of awards to be given. Others may indicate a range. Some may wish to and wait until the application period closes before determining how many awards to offer; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Grant opportunities representing multiple awards may offer awards in the same amount or in varied amounts. Some may wish to wait until the application period closes before determining per-award amounts; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) provide a letter of intent.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) be able to fully or partially match the grant award amount with another funding source.
The funding source allocated to fund the grant. It may be either State or Federal (or a combination of both), and be tied to a specific piece of legislation, a proposition, or a bond number.
  • State

Funding Source Notes:

This solicitation will award projects funded by the EPIC, an electricity ratepayer surcharge established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in December 2011. The purpose of the EPIC program is to benefit the ratepayers of three investor-owned utilities (IOUs), including Pacific Gas and Electric Co., San Diego Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Edison Co.

The manner in which the grant funding will be delivered to the awardee. Funding methods include reimbursements (where the recipient spends out-of-pocket and is reimbursed by the grantor) and advances (where the recipient spends received grant funds directly).
  • Reimbursement(s)

Funding Method Notes:

Funds are disbursed on a reimbursement basis (where the Recipient spends out-of-pocket and is reimbursed by the grantor).

How to Apply

State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.


For questions about this grant, contact:
Phil Dyer, 1-916-654-4651,