Operational Demonstration Program

The Operational Demonstration (Op Demo) Program is designed to accelerate commercialization of emerging clean energy technologies in Connecticut that have high potential for commercial success and benefit to Connecticut in four priority areas: job creation, reduction in energy production cost or energy consumption, clean energy impact and energy security. It funds installation, testing and demonstration of pre-commercial technologies at host sites in Connecticut that are representative of typical customers. The program is designed to build customer confidence in new products, investor confidence in emerging companies and public and market awareness.


The Op Demo Program is one of three clean energy technology investment programs offered by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and Connecticut Innovations (CI).  The other two programs are: (1) a new Alpha Program, which funds for earlier-stage, high-potential technologies that require further testing and development at the prototype stage, and (2) the Clean Tech Fund, which makes equity investments in clean energy, clean water and environmental remediation technologies; see: www.ctinnovations.com/cleantech.


(Photo) Instrumentation for fuel cell monitoring at wastewater treatment plant in Fairfield, Connecticut.


The Program offers unsecured loans of between $150,000 and $500,000 with favorable repayment terms and requires a minimum 25% cost share. The Program is run as a competitive solicitation with two funding cycles per year. At least two projects are selected each funding cycle.


If you have developed a new clean energy technology (or an innovative application of an existing technology), CCEF encourages you to learn more about the Op Demo Program and take the Pre-Qualification Survey to determine if your project meets the eligibility requirements described below. This Survey is the first step required in applying to the Program.


Op Demo projects can be full systems or system components representing product/process innovations in eligible technology areas, which include:

  • Electricity generation from renewable energy sources* or from waste energy recovery
  • Electricity generation from nonrenewable energy sources using high-efficiency methods
  • Combined heat and power
  • Geothermal (ground source heat pumps) and solar thermal for heating/cooling
  • Advanced energy efficiency and/or energy management systems for buildings and/or industrial processes
  • Electricity infrastructure improvements, including energy storage for the electrical grid
  • Fuel cells and hydrogen production
  • Biomass and biofuel production for stationary electricity generation

Click here for more information about what qualifies as renewable energy in Connecticut.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements:

  • The product/process must be technically feasible (meaning it does not violate the laws of physics), proven in a laboratory or other experimental setting, and field-operational.
  • Project funding must be used to install, test, and demonstrate commercial viability; it cannot be used for other business activities.
  • The company must be located in Connecticut or have plans to build a significant presence in Connecticut.  In addition, product/process commercialization must provide demonstrated benefits to Connecticut, especially job creation.
  • The Op Demo Program provides between $150,000 and $500,000 to cover project costs. Participants must demonstrate the ability to provide a minimum 25% cost share, receive funding as an unsecured loan and cover any project funding gaps before a contract is signed and CCEF funds are released.
  • The project must take place at a commercially relevant Connecticut host site with the support of the site owner and operator, and the host site and owner must be independent from the applicant company leading the demonstration.

Program Process Overview:

  1. Applicant submits Pre-Qualification Survey to determine program eligibility
  2. Applicant submits complete Op Demo Program application, including the Application Form and Application Attachments
  3. Op Demo Program staff perform initial evaluation and select top ten applicants
  4. Judging panel evaluates and selects top two (or three) applicants from the ten finalists
  5. Independent expert performs technical feasibility and business merit review of top two (or three) finalists; Op Demo Program staff perform basic background checks
  6. Technology Review Committee (part of CCEF's Board of Directors) approves funding awards
  7. Winning applicants execute a funding contract with CCEF and attend an award presentation
  8. Project team installs, tests and demonstrates the product/process
  9. Project team and Op Demo Program staff handle post-demonstration follow-up and close-out . . .
    the effort is well on its way to commercial success, with customers and investors lining up . . .

Example Operational Demonstration Project

The Op Demo Program has provided a loan to support installation, testing and demonstration of an innovative 500-kilowatt hydrokinetic turbine system at Kirby Mill in Mansfield, CT.  Click here to learn more.


Program Announcements

  • The first funding cycle under the new Op Demo Program opens for receipt of applications in August 2010. Application submissions for this funding cycle are due December 3, 2010. 

Program Guidelines and Application Materials

How do I apply to the Op Demo Program?

  • Step 1. CLICK HERE to take the Op Demo Program Pre-Qualification Survey.

    IMPORTANT: The Pre-Qualification Survey is required and must be submitted before you begin work on your Application Form and Application Attachments.

Links to Important Information