New Energy Commission Program Provides $24 Million in Grants for Early Stage Clean Energy Projects

One of California’s most significant funding opportunities supporting early stage clean energy entrepreneurs will launch Jan. 16 thanks to funding from the California Energy Commission.

The California Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (CalSEED) initiative will provide $24 million in grants over five years to support innovators working on early stage clean energy concepts. Awardees will receive up to $150,000 for proof of concept activities and can pitch their ideas for up to $450,000 in follow-on funding.

“This initiative will help entrepreneurs move their projects from an idea to the marketplace,” said Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller, “thereby helping to advance California’s transition to a clean energy future.

The CalSEED program is managed by the California Clean Energy Fund, a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in early stage and startup companies.

“This level of funding is not typically available for pre-prototype or pre-revenue ideas,” said CalSEED Program Manager Deepa Lounsbury.“We believe the program will help catalyze a new era of clean energy technologies.”

Awardees will also receive technical expertise, mentoring and business development support from a network of entrepreneurial training organizations, nonprofits, businesses, universities and clean energy incubators.

The Energy Commission is committed to increasing diversity in the energy sector and encourages applications from woman-owned, minority-owned and small businesses; from underserved, low-income, veteran, rural, and LGBTQ communities; and from entrepreneurs developing energy solutions that benefit under-represented communities.

CalSEED funding comes from the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program, which invests about $120 million annually for innovative clean energy technologies and approaches and that benefit the ratepayers of California’s three largest electric investor-owned utilities.

Visit for more information. The application period opens Jan. 16.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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