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Last Updated: Jul 31, 2015

Program for Emerging Technologies

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) launched this program in 2012 in order to partner with individuals and companies who want to evaluate, test and implement innovative emerging technologies. The goal is to find and nurture creative products and services that will manage and better use electricity, gas, water and fiber optic services. We want to find the best ideas out there and help get them implemented!

What do you get if your application is successful?

Under the program, City offers staff time and the Utilities/City infrastructure in Palo Alto as a 'test bed' to evaluate and publicize technologies. No direct monetary funding is available to applicants under this program.

View a summary of program details

Click here to view an overview of the program and evaluation material. To read the report submitted in April 2013 to the Council Policy & Services Committee, click here.

Application and contact Info

The program is accepting applications on a continuous basis with applications being reviewed quarterly.
During the application review process, staff may contact applicants with follow up questions.

Current application period ends: October 15, 2015

ATTENTION: The City of Palo Alto Utilities is currently not accepting any new PET applications for solar on light poles through the 2015 calendar year.

Quarterly Program Highlights

April 15, 2015

  • Using Utility Data to Help Seniors and their Caregivers in our Community - For the past several months, Staff have been working with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) Innovation Center to evaluate the technical feasibility of deploying a research pilot called "linkages Connect" on Palo Alto's utility distribution systems. "linkages Connect uses passive signals in the home, such as electricity, gas, and water data from advanced metering infrastructure, to allow family caregivers to remain updated on the wellbeing of their senior family members. Since changes in well-established daily routines of seniors are often an indication of shifts in health status, regular utility usage patterns can be an additional mode of communication that signals all is well with a senior family member who is living alone. Staff is currently working with two volunteer households to test the technical feasibility of the PAMF proposal, which, if successful, will lead to a pilot scale deployment.
  • Enabling High Penetrations of Renewables on the Electric Distribution System – A research team from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University submitted an application for federal funding for a proposed research program developing an open-source unified data analytics platform that will enable the integration of high penetrations of renewables on the electric distribution system. Through PET, CPAU submitted a letter of support for their application and this area of research, the outcomes of which would facilitate the City reaching multiple strategic sustainability goals, including meeting 4% of our energy needs from local solar by 2023.

January 15, 2015

  • Energy Efficient Software for Data Centers - Staff is currently working with TSO Logic to identify a 3rd party host site to demonstrate their energy efficiency software for data centers. Their software solution focuses on IT workload and creating visibility into the server environment, application performance, and energy consumption. Past case studies have demonstrated up to 50% energy savings.

October 15, 2014

  • Advanced Lighting Systems for Retrofitting Parking Garages - CPAU staff completed a report documenting results from the advanced lighting system pilot project in the Palo Alto City Hall underground parking garage, which was carried out from January through March 2014. The pilot project is in partnership with Enlighted Inc and Next Lighting. The report quantified the energy savings potential demonstrated in the pilot, along with providing an estimated lifetime cost/benefit analyses for retrofitting the entire Palo Alto Civic Center parking garage. Results from the pilot project strongly support retrofitting the Civic Center underground parking garages with LED lamps and advanced lighting controls. The demonstrated energy savings from the pilot was 72% in the most energy efficient scenario, which led to an estimated payback period of within a decade. Furthermore, stakeholders representing parking garage users strongly supported the City's efforts to modernize the lighting system and increase efficiency in municipal buildings.
  • Distributed Solar on Street Light Poles - City staff is launching a 6-month pilot project in partnership with Petra Systems to demonstrate their solar-on-a-light-pole technology in Palo Alto. In November, Solar photovoltaic (PV) modules were installed on nine City-owned street light poles along El Camino Real and connected with CPAU's distribution grid to deliver clean renewable energy to the community. Additional benefits of the system include providing a platform for monitoring the solar production and street light operations with real-time data posted online. The community is encouraged to submit any feedback about the pilot systems to CPAU. At the conclusion of the pilot, the project will be removed and CPAU staff will provide a summary report of findings. Read more about the project here.
  • Carbon Calculator and Reporting Tools for Cities and Small Businesses - The City is currently finalizing two pilot projects with Measurabl using their innovative "Turbo-Tax-style" software tools for easy calculating, reporting, and benchmarking of sustainability-related information. One pilot will focus on the City government, and the second will focus on small businesses in Palo Alto.

July 15, 2014

  • Product for Customer-Side Demand Management - CPAU staff validated a customer-side demand management product from AutoGrid and its potential to benefit CPAU and our customers. CPAU and AutoGrid presented the product, which forecasts customers' monthly peak demand, giving them a chance to shave energy consumption during a few peak hours each month, at the quarterly facilities managers meeting. AutoGrid is currently soliciting participation for a solar project.
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2015