Anticipating SGIP and huge energy storage growth in California

by Anna Gretz
April 15, 2017

If you’ve been keeping up with The Swell, you know that we’re pretty excited that SGIP IS COMING.

Quick Reminder: SGIP stands for Self Generation Incentive Program, or California’s way to motivate people to use alternative energy sources to generate and store their own electricity. SGIP has had a rocky history of letting big businesses soak up a majority of their funds… but this year, that’s not going to happen. In Spring of 2017, SGIP is going to reopen for residential customers with a whole new set of rules to make sure homeowners get plenty of money to protect their homes… free money.

The new SGIP 2.0 looks promising for many customers, especially solar customers, and we’re curious to know what a post SGIP California will look like. What do we expect? Big energy storage numbers, and really happy people. The SGIP has always been a big booster for energy storage in California, since it’s been one of the biggest subsidies the state has seen. Last month, we found out that things could be even bigger.

What gave us that idea?

California utilities reported that they are going to be doubling the amount of funding collected to $166 million per year and 85% of the additional funding will be funnelled into the energy storage category. Basically, these changes almost make SGIP an all-out energy storage program. This is a big deal.

Since energy storage, though awesome, is still just an emerging industry with a lot of growing to do, this level of funding can make a really big difference. Solar installations have been growing at an unprecedented rate, and pairing this with some impressive energy storage growth could be exactly what the California grid needs.

Andrew Krulewitz, a marketer for energy storage provider Geli said it well:

“Solar is going to keep coming on the grid, resulting in more and more negative price events. Pairing solar with batteries makes solar inherently more dispatchable, a win for the grid, and a win for solar installers.” In other words, major energy storage growth is great for the struggling power grid in California, and also great for solar installers, since the solar ITC pushes batteries to charge off of power generated through rooftop panels. Everyone is winning.

Here’s another great note by Generate Capital:

“With the falling cost of battery storage and additional incentive from the federal tax credit, solar-plus-storage is finally ready to become a standard offer presented to commercial and industrial customers.”

Yes, energy storage, along with solar, are moving into the mainstream, becoming a more and more common development for commercial and industrial properties… but we think residential solar-plus-storage deserves a mention, too, especially given the crazy-high incentive SGIP is offering.


Now, you may look at this number and think something is missing. Something looks off. You’re right. Usually, when we’re talking about energy, we use kWh (kilowatt-hours) instead of simply Wh (watt-hours.) The difference is pretty huge. A kilowatt is 1,000 watts, and we normally deal in this unit of measurement because electricity generation and storage deals with a lot of watts. This is why some people don’t quite understand how awesome SGIP is. They don’t offer $.50 for every kilowatt-hour of energy storage installed… it’s every watt-hour. Which is a ton of money.

So much money, in fact that, SGIP is about to make solar with storage more cost-effective than solar without storage for a lot of customers. Going solar is smart because it protects customers from ever-rising electricity rates, and offers backup power and power resiliency. Getting energy storage already makes a ton of sense for all of these customers. Energy storage, like home batteries, let you keep all of the energy you generate from solar panels during the day, since you probably need it more in the evenings, anyway. It also offers much more reliable and versatile backup power, since energy storage can discharge energy at night, when the sun isn’t shining and solar panels are not producing power at all. In short, most customers with solar already want storage, whether they know it or not. Now, for Californians, SGIP is about to pay these households to get what you already want.

For homeowners that have debated whether or not to add a home battery to their solar energy system, now is definitely the time.

Get Paid to Build Your Energy Fortress

It’s time to make your house awesome… and get paid to do it. The SGIP will pay you to add an energy storage system to your home. If you have solar panels (or even if you don’t), getting a home battery just makes sense, even without the SGIP’s check coming in the mail. The price of electricity from the grid continues to rise, while prices of home batteries, along with solar photovoltaics, are falling fast as the technology becomes more and more popular. If you’re already generating energy during the day, get a home battery to save it for the evening, when you need it the most. If you live in California, the SGIP will pay you for something you already want -- lower-cost, clean energy, independence from the grid, and blackout protection.

If you’re looking to get huge rewards through the SGIP and install an incredibly useful addition to your home at the same time, energy storage is definitely the way to go. Installing an energy storage system, like home batteries, alongside solar panels, can not only provide you with cheap, clean energy, but protect you from blackouts as well. Who knew back-up power was so economically advantageous?

The SGIP makes installing an energy storage system more appealing than ever. Now, installing a home battery in your home will not only cut your electricity bill, reduce your carbon footprint, and protect you from the next inevitable blackout, but make you eligible for free money through California’s SGIP. It’s pretty much a dream come true.

If you’re sold on SGIP’s funding opportunity, or even if you aren’t, hit up a Swell representative to talk about how we can help you navigate the government funding system, and help you build the energy security you’re looking for.