California Senate committee clears bill for new energy storage rebate program
A bill authorizing rebates for the installation of energy storage systems passed out of the California Senate's energy and utilities committee this week by a vote of 7-2 with two abstentions. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
The bill, SB 700, would require utilities to collect funds from ratepayers to establish an Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) that would work in tandem with the state’s existing Self Generation Incentive Program and the California Solar Initiative. The ESI would be funded through 2027.
The bill also calls for 25% of the funds collected for the Energy Storage Initiative to be allotted for low income neighborhoods and job training programs.
California is the nation's largest energy storage market, in large part because the state has mandated its adoption among utilities and incentivized deployment for end users.
Last year the state passed four bills aimed at encouraging storage. But the state was still missing incentives to pair storage with solar power installations outside of the complex Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which to date has been used mostly to deploy C&I storage assets.
SB 700 would address that lack, establishing a new energy storage rebate program that would incentivize the adoption of solar-plus-storage systems by working in tandem with the SGIP and the California Solar Initiative, which provides rebates for standalone BTM solar installations.
Under the bill, storage systems eligible for rebates under the SGIP would be transferred to the ESI program, along with utility funding for the SGIP.
SB 700 would require the California Public Utilities Commission to set up the ESI by Dec. 1, 2018, that would run until 2027 — a longer timeline than the SGIP, which is currently funded through 2020.
As lawmakers debate the bill, the SGIP program remains the most lucrative state incentive program for energy storage in the United States. The program opens for the first of up to five rounds of applications on Monday, May 1, with a $400 million budget through 2019.
- PV magazine California energy-storage bill passes committee
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