SGIP funding to increase: more affordable solar + energy storage in California on the way

By Walker Wright, Director of Policy and Market Development Strategy, ENGIE | September 23, 2016

After a period of concern that California energy storage installations wouldn’t come close to meeting the increasing demand of schools and businesses, the state legislature delivered a welcome reprieve in passing AB 1637 on the very last day of session. Assembly Member Evan Low’s AB 1637 will increase the funding available under the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and maintain California’s national leadership in the customer-sited storage market, as we transition to a smarter and more distributed clean energy economy. We expect the bill to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown soon.

What AB1637 means for customers

As a new Director of Policy and Market Development Strategy at ENGIE (Green Charge’s parent company), I was thrilled to be immediately involved in such meaningful industry legislation. I knew it would clearly translate into further opportunity for schools and businesses to better control their clean energy destinies with savings and storage innovation. Green Charge is well-positioned to deliver these innovations. Through its Power Efficiency Agreement™, Green Charge helps customer sites qualify for SGIP funds, which are paired with innovative financing solutions, making it possible for customers to benefit from storage solutions with no upfront costs.

Act now, but expect more to come

The success of AB 1637 required teamwork throughout the industry—including the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) and other clean technology advocates—and those efforts came down to a flurry of activity in August. The leadership provided by Assembly Member Low, some of his colleagues in the legislature, and Governor Brown speaks to the value California places on a successful and competitive storage industry as the state ramps up its clean energy mandates.

I expect the funds will go quickly, with many customers eager to benefit from the larger program. One of the ways customers will use SGIP funds is in solar + energy storage installations. Solar PV is the most prevalent means of self-generating clean energy, and on-site energy storage helps maintain optimal energy flows throughout a facility, regardless of weather, time of day, or other grid factors. An integrated solar + storage solution works synergistically to help contain electricity costs while also providing additional revenue stream opportunities.

In my mind, such integrated solutions are really the tip of the iceberg in terms of building a robust network of distributed energy generation and storage systems that will bring sustained value to ratepayers, the grid, and our environment. I’ll talk more about that in my next post.