California opens second SGIP round after awarding $50 million on May 1

Californians sure love producing their own power – so much so that when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) relaunched its popular  Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) to find solar+storage projects May 1, the $50 million in grants were nearly gone within 24 hours.

If you missed out on the first round of funding, however, don’t fret – the CPUC announced yesterday that it will be launching Step 2 of the program in June, this time with more than $100 million available to fund energy storage projects. As pv magazine reported, when the systems supported by Step 1 funding will in one fell swoop more than double distributed battery storage capacities in California when deployed.

In the more than a decade that SGIP has existed, it has funded more than 3,700 clean energy projects, but the May 1 application process was one of the most successful funding rounds to date. More than 130 companies submitted applications, of which more than 50% were strictly targeted for energy storage projects. In total, hundreds of projects received incentive reservations. Initial reports from May 1’s Step 1 suggest the average cost per watt for storage systems seeking SGIP incentives fell from $3.33 in 2016 to $2.55 in 2017.

“We have successfully revamped our Self Generation Incentive Program and have reserved rebates for projects across various technologies that will promote reliability and provide clean energy,” said Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen. “I am pleased to see that there are so many customers seeking clean energy solutions on their side of the meter, and that the market for these technologies is robust and growing. I am also pleased that a significant portion of the projects are located in disadvantaged communities.”

Other notable results from the May 1 application process:

  • Of the approximately $50 million made available for energy storage projects, the majority of that funding was reserved on the day the program reopened.
  • Approximately 28% of the incentives reserved by large-scale energy storage projects in the territories of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) are for projects sited in community census tracts identified by CalEnviroScreen 3.0 as being in the top 25% (i.e., most heavily affected) of disadvantaged census tracts statewide.
  • 58 of the 66 funded applications in SCE’s large-scale (i.e., projects over 10 kW in size) energy storage lottery, totaling 15.4 MW, are sited in SCE’s West Los Angeles Local Reliability Area, an area affected by the leak that occurred at Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon.

In June, the CPUC budgeted more than $270 million to SGIP through 2019. In addition, the CPUC created a lottery system to select projects to replace a first-come first-served system when demand for incentives is high. Last month, the CPUC nearly doubled the SGIP budget to more than $500 million through 2019 in response to the Legislature’s passage of Assembly Bill 1637 last year.

Nearly 80% of that money targets energy storage projects, and more than $100 million of funds for energy storage projects will be available in Step 2 of the program, set for some time in June.

SGIP is funded by the ratepayers of PG&E, SCE, SDG&E, and SoCalGas.