Since about 42 percent of the solar roof-tops in the United States fall into the PG&E utility service territory, it probably makes sense that it get at least some of the federal stimulus moolah that has been set aside for smart grid projects. It also makes sense for PG&E to boost its chances by teaming up with other organizations that have been active in the renewable energy and smart grid front.
The utility is applying for $42.5 million in federal stimulus funds along with the City of San Jose, IBM and Cisco Systems, among others. The effort will play off PG&E's SmartMeter plan and the roughly 10,000 residential and commercial solar customers that San Jose can contribute to the test. Overall, however, the proposed effort would cover 75,000 homes and businesses with smart energy devices that could be managed along both cost and quality lines.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said that while his municipality has been very successful in convincing its citizens to invest in solar, despite the poor economy, the only way that his city or the national can succeed it deploying renewable energy in a more widespread fashion is by tying its benefits to the benefits of the smart grid. "There are huge amounts of information to be managed and you need the smart grid there in order to make that happen," he says.
Of course, just because you apply for the money, doesn't mean you'll get it. Here is a web site that outlines the deadlines and guidelines for the federal stimulus grant funds. Generally speaking, the site implies that applicants will hear within 90 days of their application. Since the first major deadline was on Aug. 6, we're probably going to start hearing about which projects won money for phase 1 in early November.