California Assembly pulls residential storage rebate bill off agenda, delaying it until 2018
- A California bill that would create a 10-year residential energy storage rebate was pulled from the state Assembly agenda this week despite clearing the Senate last month, Greentech Media reports.
- If enacted, SB 700 would have provided roughly $1.4 billion in rebates for residential energy storage and been funded through fees charged to customers by electric utilities to establish the Energy Storage Initiative and finance it through 2027. The California Public Utilities Commission would have determined the funding levels.
- Lawmakers will have to wait until next year to take up the bill again. A representative for the California Solar Energy Industries Association expressed frustration to Greentech Media over the bill's delay, accusing utilities of blocking the bill. The California Assembly's Utilities and Energy Committee Chair disagreed with that assessment, calling it "simplistic."
Touted as the energy storage version of the state's highly successful California Solar Incentive (CSI), the measure would have worked in tandem with the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). SGIP already set aside funding for residential energy storage through 2019, but have mostly been used to deploy C&I systems. The bill would have taken those efforts a step further to drive down system costs for residential ratepayers, and even allocated about 30% of its funding for low-income customers.
The intent of the bill mirrored that of the CSI program: reduce the cost of energy storage systems so the average ratepayer could pair this technology with rooftop solar arrays. The CSI, implemented in 2007, is considered a state success story for exceeding its goal of deploying 1.7 GW of rooftop solar on commercial and residential buildings by 2016.
A wide range of interests backed the storage measure, some of whom were attracted by its emphasis on low-income access. Senator Scott Wiener, who authored the bill, touted it as a way to reach the state's proposed soft goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.
Needless to say, the delay was met by disappointment from energy storage advocates and Wiener. The senator acknowledged the SGIP funding could provide incentive for residential storage systems, but it's "not enough" as it only guarantees funds through 2019.
California Legislature has passed measures before to boost energy storage deployment. Last year, the state cleared four bills to encourage energy storage, but the technology currently lacks incentives to pair it with solar power installations outside of SGIP. The measure would have filled that gap and widened access to the technology.
- Greentech Media California Assembly Yanks Major Storage Bill, Pushing It to 2018
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