California's Self-Generation Incentive Program is about to be re-authorized by Governor Jerry Brown and will continue to provide $83 million per year (through 2019) for behind-the-meter generation technologies including wind, fuel cells and energy storage.

As early as today, California Governor Jerry Brown is anticipated to sign the funding extension.

The SGIP is the original California renewables incentive, predating the California Solar Initiative. It has historically been used for peak load reduction and solar technology adoption. 

But lately, the SGIP rebate is going more and more toward energy storage applications. With a mandate to add 200 megawatts of energy storage behind the meter by 2020, the SGIP will "really help build the ecosystem," according to Janice Lin, the chair of Energy Storage North America.

In 2012, the SGIP incentive devoted to energy storage was for just two systems totaling 2 megawatts. In April 2013, there was more than 25 megawatts of energy storage in the SGIP queue. Lin said that there were more applications for energy storage than for any other technology in 2013.

Some details on the SGIP program:

  • The incentive payment is capped at 3 megawatts
  • Wind systems, fuel cells and advanced energy storage systems must be covered by a minimum ten-year warranty
  • Storage can be stand-alone or in tandem with solar or another technology

Here's the SGIP handbook, the text of the bill, details from the CPUC and a report on the impact of the SGIP.   

Lin sees the SGIP as integral in meeting the 1.3-gigawatt CPUC mandate for storage, especially since 200 megawatts of that energy storage must be customer-sited. Lin encourages the adoption of a "big-picture" viewpoint on energy storage in California. She envisions the aggregation of distributed generation and storage to provide services such as frequency regulation, resource adequacy or flexible capacity to the grid.

For Lin, energy storage is about "using the grid more efficiently."

"Once the governor signs the bill," said storage expert Lin, it will "be about big implementation efforts at the PUC." 


Base SGIP Incentive Levels for Eligible Technologies (from 2013 SGIP Handbook)