Operational Demonstration Program

The Operational Demonstration (Op Demo) Program is one of three investment programs for emerging clean energy technologies offered by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and Connecticut Innovations (CI).  The other two programs are a new Alpha Program for early stage, high-potential technologies that still require research and development (yet to be launched) and the Connecticut Clean Tech Fund (www.ctinnovations.com/cleantech). The three programs invest in projects along a continuum of technology readiness levels.


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


The Op Demo Program funds installation, demonstration and testing of pre-commercial technologies at representative host sites in Connecticut. The program is designed to help build customer confidence in new products, investor confidence in emerging companies, and public and market awareness.


For the Op Demo Program, the project must be ready for demonstration of commercial viability at a relevant and independent host site. If you have developed a new clean energy technology (or an innovative application of an existing technology or combination of technologies) which meets the eligibility criteria outlined below, CCEF encourages you to apply to the Op Demo Program. The Op Demo Program offers unsecured loans of up to $500,000 requiring a 25% cost share, with favorable repayment conditions.


Projects can be full systems or system components representing innovations in the following areas:  renewable electricity generation, advanced energy efficiency, and electricity infrastructure and energy management. Some example technologies include solar, wind, wave and tidal, ocean thermal, small-scale hydropower, biomass, fuel cells, hydrogen generation and storage, waste heat recovery, energy storage and smart grid.


Eligibility criteria for the Operational Demonstration program include:

  • Proven technical feasibility in a laboratory setting;
  • A clearly communicated commercial value proposition and a quality business plan;
  • High probability of commercial success within three years (five years for fuel cells);
  • Pre-commercial product stage, significantly benefiting from demonstration in a relevant host environment;
  • Ability to develop and execute a meaningful demonstration testing program;
  • Support of the owner and operator of a Connecticut host site, independent of the program applicant;
  • A qualified team of professionals, partners and contractors;
  • For electricity generation systems, capacity of at least 1 kW (or the functional equivalent for hydrogen generation); and
  • Clear benefits to Connecticut electric ratepayers.

Pathway to Funding:

  1. Pre-application eligibility screening;
  2. Submission of a full application, including business plan and demonstration testing plan;
  3. Application review and due diligence including evaluation of technical and business merits;
  4. Approval by the CCEF Board of Directors;
  5. Contract negotiation and execution;
  6. Project installation and operation, including implementation of the test plan; and
  7. Post-demonstration follow-up and close-out.


Example Operational Demonstration Project

CCEF approved a loan to help fund the demonstration of an innovative 500-kilowatt hydrokinetic turbine system at Kirby Mill in Mansfield, Connecticut.  Click to learn more.


Program Announcements

  • The most recent funding cycle for the Operational Demonstration (Op Demo) Program closed on May 1, 2010.  A revised Op Demo Program will open for receipt of applications in August 2010.  The revised program will be restructured as a competitive solicitation and will select a minimum of two projects at funding levels of up to $500,000 each. Program details and application materials will be provided on this web site in advance of the opening date.
  • The new Alpha Program is anticipated to open for receipt of applications in October 2010.



Links to Important Information

Article in Clean Energy Today describing CCEF’s investment programs for new clean energy technologies 


Operational Demonstration Program Overview - current process 


Download Operational Demonstration Program application instructions
Download Operational Demonstration Program Pre-Application Forms
Download Operational Demonstration Program Application