FAQ: Request for Ideas

Request for Ideas closed

Our Request for Ideas is now closed, and submissions are not being taken at this time. Our Idea Portal will re-open in Summer 2024. In the meantime, if you have submitted an idea, you can log in to review your past submissions.

What is the market transformation initiative (MTI) development process?

CalMTA identifies and administers a portfolio of market transformation initiatives (MTIs) that offer the best opportunity to advance California’s energy efficiency and climate goals. These efforts were put into action in January 2023, when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) created CalMTA as the state’s first-ever Market Transformation Administrator to advance groundbreaking energy efficiency transformation initiatives that will bring sustainable, cost-effective market changes to California.

CalMTA selects the MTIs to develop based on a transparent vetting and scoring process. Once an MTI is selected for its portfolio, CalMTA will develop a plan for executing it and conduct a competitive solicitation to select companies to deliver the plan. Learn more about the MTI development process.

What types of market transformation ideas are you looking for?

Your idea can be for a technology, product, service, practice, and/or delivery approach.  However, you should be able to describe how your proposed idea will save energy and ultimately transform the market, so the energy efficient technology or practice becomes the industry standard. See the selection criteria for other priorities.

What types of support does CalMTA provide?

CalMTA will not award funds directly to submitters of ideas, but rather will develop an execution plan based on the submitted idea and conduct a competitive solicitation to select a company or companies to deliver the plan. The submitter, however, is eligible to submit a bid in the competitive solicitation. Participating in the Request for Ideas (RFI) process does not preclude submitters from implementing MTIs. The types of activities funded may include interventions to influence what’s available in the market; workforce development and training programs, demonstration projects, research studies, or other activities that remove or reduce market barriers.

Why should I submit an idea? 

Submitting your idea to CalMTA is an opportunity to shape and influence the way California spends ratepayer dollars to meet our climate and energy efficiency goals and create initiatives that have lasting change and impact. If the MTI is selected, the proposed technology or practice will be the focus of intensive market transformation investment over the next several years with the goal of catalyzing and accelerating market adoption. If you work in the market where the MTI is proposed, market activity would likely create economic opportunities for your industry, business, or organization.

How will CalMTA use the information submitted?

CalMTA will use the information provided through the RFI process to assess and score the idea for consideration as part of its portfolio of MTIs. If your idea is selected, CalMTA will develop a market transformation theory, identify market barriers, and identify a strategy for removing those barriers. After developing a full MTI Plan and receiving approval to fund the Plan from the CPUC, a competitive solicitation for delivery of the MTI Plan will be released. See our video about the MTI development process.

Will I get compensated for my idea?

Ideas submitted through the RFI will not directly result in any funding or contract award. Our RFI is designed to get feedback from market actors about innovative technologies and practices that (1) have the potential to achieve measurable energy savings in California, (2) are commercially available today or will be in the next six months, and (3) face non-financial barriers to adoption. The top-ranked ideas will be developed by the CalMTA team into full MTIs that will be approved by the CPUC and then bid out for implementation through an RFP process, which will result in a contract and financial award. Some high-potential ideas may also be delivered as a pilot before they are developed into a full MTI.

Isn’t Resource Innovations a program implementer? How will you protect my idea from conflicts of interest?

The Resource Innovations team assigned to implement CalMTA is separated organizationally and physically from the teams conducting energy program implementation for program administrators in California. Furthermore, CalMTA will not implement the MTIs.  For each selected MTI, CalMTA will develop a plan for executing it and conduct a competitive solicitation to select a company or companies for its delivery.

What information do I need to complete the RFI submission form?

You can review the submission form questions. There is also a set of self-screen questions to determine if your idea is right for our market transformation approach.

Will my idea be kept confidential?

If you have confidential information that will strengthen your submission, please include that material only in the document uploads on the submission form and clearly mark files/documents as CONFIDENTIAL. Except as required under law or for regulatory purposes we will maintain confidentiality of such information. See our full terms of use.

In addition, any confidential details you provide subsequent to your submission about your proposed market transformation approach (e.g., targeted market partners) will be kept confidential and only shared with select members of the CalMTA team. It will not be shared publicly including in an RFP as long as that material is clearly marked as CONFIDENTIAL.

What if my technology or product is proprietary?

CalMTA will accept ideas related to technologies or products that are proprietary. However, market transformation is about developing and growing markets, which in some cases benefit from competition. Note that if your product contains proprietary technology, you should indicate that on the submission form and CalMTA will treat it confidentially, as described above. Proprietary information will not be shared publicly.

Who will be able to see my submitted idea?

CalMTA is required to conduct the selection process in a transparent manner. The selection process will be presented to the MTAB in open, public meetings so your idea will likely be included in discussions on prioritizing ideas. However, the submitter’s names will not be identified in this process and any material marked CONFIDENTIAL in the submission will not be shared.

Can I see an example of a successful submission?

The RFI portal opening in June 2023 is the first of its kind.  Once CalMTA has examples of successful submissions, this FAQ will be revised to incorporate them. Meanwhile, you can see two case studies on successful MTIs led by other organizations.

Does my project have to be located in California?

The technology or practice must be suitable to and able to provide benefit in California, but the submitter or manufacturer can be located outside of California.

How much time will it take me to prepare my submission?

Once you have all the information at hand, we estimate that completing the intake questions should take one to two hours, depending on the level of detail of your responses.  We are looking for complete information and as much detail as possible.

What happens after I submit my idea?

After your idea is submitted, CalMTA will score your idea and rank it relative to the other submitted ideas. We may contact you if we have questions. You will receive a notification telling you whether or not your idea was selected to advance to Phase 2.  We anticipate moving to Phase 2 to take 8-15 weeks after the RFI portal closes in mid-August 2023.

What criteria will you use to determine which ideas to support?

Please see our Selection Criteria

How much time will I need to dedicate if my idea is selected for development?

The submitter does not have any obligations in the MTI development process. However, you may wish to respond to the competitive solicitation for the MTI implementation.

What types of ideas are appropriate for CalMTA?

Appropriate ideas include technologies or practices that offer significant energy efficiency, GHG reduction, and/or grid benefits, but are currently facing identifiable barriers to widespread market adoption. For example: an emerging technology that currently has low production or lacks adequate distribution or marketing; a technology or practice that designers or contractors are not aware of or are insufficiently trained to use.

What types of ideas are not appropriate for CalMTA?

Ideas that involve emerging technologies in the pre-commercialized stages are not appropriate for CalMTA and may be a better fit for CalNEXT.

When can I submit my idea?

The first RFI has now closed. We anticipate re-opening in Q1 of 2024 and reviewing submitted ideas on a quarterly basis.


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