HPWH Load Shifting Pilot


Contractors who install Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWHs) are key actors who can:

  • Facilitate grid connection for the new appliance at the time of installation
  • Influence whether the new appliance is set up to shift demand to times of day that maximize benefits to the electric grid and are cheaper for the customer to operate

Pilot purpose:

The primary purpose of this pilot has been to empower contractors with the information and motivation to enable HPWHs to shift load at the time of installation and to understand which contractor engagement tactics are most effective. The Pilot team tested the impact of a $50 bonus incentive on contractor-initiated customer enrollment in a demand response program for TECH HPWH installations while this step remained optional for TECH contractors and customers.

Given that customer enrollment in a demand response program is a requirement for receiving the new TECH HPWH incentives that launched October 31, 2023, the Pilot team switched gears to...

  1. Gather contractor feedback on the Program and their experiences
  2. Offer contractor support to help guarantee contractor success via attendance at weekly office hours and identify solutions to make the sales and installation process easier
  3. Track customer enrollment in the demand response program options per the Program requirement and also to understand barriers

What was the bonus incentive?

The Load Shifting Pilot offered a $50 bonus incentive to qualifying TECH Clean California contractors who helped their HPWH customers enroll in a load shifting or demand response (DR) program at the time of HWPH installation. These programs increase the value that customers get from their HPWH by potentially increasing electric bill savings, and many of them pay customers to sign up.

Eligible load shifting & demand response programs

How contractors captured the bonus incentive:

  1. If not already enrolled in TECH Clean California, contractors completed the enrollment form.
  2. To enroll for the new round of TECH HPWH funding that launched October 31, 2023, please visit the Switch is On enrollment form page.
  3. At the time of HPWH installation, contractors followed steps (found under the links to "Eligible Load Shifting / DR Programs") to help the customer connect their HPWH to a Load Shifting or DR program during the time of installation.
  4. Please note, this is now a requirement for the new round of TECH HPWH funding.
  5. Contractors then completed the incentive application fields to indicate involvement in customer enrollment:
  6. Did you enroll the customer in a Demand Response (DR) or Load Shifting program? See drop down for program options: Yes
  7. If so, which?: Select program option from the drop down menu to the incentive application question.

Load shifting HPWH training:

The Pilot team’s original load shifting training video has been removed and replaced with a “Key Requirements for HPWH Projects” training course for TECH HPWH contractors. This training includes content about DR programs and Time-of-Use (TOU) rates since enrollment in each of these is a requirement for customers receiving the new round of TECH HPWH funding that launched October 31, 2023.

Pilot Generated Resources

Thermostatic Mixing Valve Training Video (still available)

Use of TMV’s guarantees consistent hot water temperatures and allows for higher tank heat settings. Higher heat settings kill bacteria, which is important in some residential and many commercial settings. Higher heat and using a TMV also increases the hot water capacity of the tank and helps customers participate in electricity demand reduction programs – saving them money. TMV’s are code in many jurisdictions and a program requirement for California’s heat pump water heater programs.

Engaging Contractors: a Critical Partner to Realize the Load Shifting Potential of HPWHs

Learn more about the Pilot team's strategy to test the hypothesis that contractors will be critical market partners in facilitating grid connection during the time of installation. This paper includes further detail as well about the partners and collaboration approaches of this Pilot, including the overarching TECH Clean California initiative, WatterSaver, the BayREN HPWH program, and the PG&E Midstream HPWH Study and Field Test. Additionally, the Next Steps section highlights a significant shift in strategy and focus for the Pilot Team since the paper was first accepted, due to the external forces. This paper for the most part describes the Pilot as designed and implemented before TECH Program changes began.