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Calif. PUC votes to provide storage incentives for low-income customers

October 26, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
October 26, 2020

The California Public Utilities Commission on Oct. 22 revised its Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) to increase focus on supporting energy storage for low income customers and communities, medically vulnerable customers and facilities that provide critical services.

Specifically, the CPUC approved $108.5 million in additional funding for the SGIP “Equity Budget.” This funding provides incentives for customers who install energy storage systems and who are low-income residents or local governments, schools, nonprofits, or small business customers located in disadvantaged or low-income communities, or in Indian Country.

The CPUC noted that after it authorized increased incentive amounts for the Equity Budget in late 2019, customer demand for the program greatly increased.  All authorized funding was quickly allocated and waiting lists were created.

Last week’s decision does not increase the absolute amount of funding for SGIP, but transfers funds to the Equity Budget from funding set aside for general large-scale storage projects,  i.e., non-residential storage systems installed by customers that are not low-income or located in disadvantaged or low-income communities.

After the transfer of funds, the general large-scale storage budget will still have funding available for future projects.

The proposal voted on by the state utility commission is available here.

The SGIP was established in 2001 to increase deployment of distributed generation and energy storage systems to facilitate the integration of those resources into the electrical grid, improve efficiency and reliability of the distribution and transmission system, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, peak demand, and ratepayer costs.

Additional information about the SGIP is available here.