Exciting California Home Battery Update

by Anna Gretz
January 27, 2020

California regulators have seen the light...

... and what could potentially keep the lights on for the most vulnerable energy customers in the region. 

Spoiler alert: they're talking about home batteries. 

After the widespread, planned blackouts caused by area wildfires, California started to look to home batteries with unprecedented desperation. But now, regulators are ready to put up some serious cash... $830 million, to be exact. A huge portion of this funding will back up the "Equity Resilience Budget," a new category focused on low-income, medically vulnerable Californians. 

Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission went to work on a new proposal in response to the state's massive blackouts. They decided to use the already-existing SGIP (Self-Generation Incentive Program), set in place to encourage Californians to generate and store their own power on their own property. SGIP will hold the huge new pool of $830 million, and hopefully inspire more and more homeowners to install home batteries... especially those who may not have considered it an option before. 

Energy Storage for All

Because of the wildfire crisis, a lot of resources are focused on "High Fire Threat Districts, located throughout the state, as well as the disadvantaged residents mentioned before. But anyone who couldn't financially afford to upgrade their at-home energy system, and has experienced more than one "public safety power shutoff" should pay attention to this.

The funding will be available to a variety of facilities, not just homeowners. Nursing homes, cell towers, and supermarkets serving remote communities are also on the list. Basically, the CPUC wants to make sure no one is left in the dark, or without access to the food, communication services and medical devices they need. 


Remember all the $1 per watt-hour talk?

Yeah, those conversations are still happening, too. The incredible, $1 per watt-hour subsidies available through SGIP could nearly cover the entire cost of a solar-storage system upfront. These subsidies are reserved for California's most vulnerable residents. If you know someone who could face a life-threatening situation if their power went down for a day or more, please hit us up. We want to make sure they get in on this. 

After important decisions made last month, regulators decided that these extra vulnerable customers could exceed SGIP's previous limits on battery storage sizes, so they could upgrade their home energy storage systems even more. This would make sure electricity was available for multiple days if necessary, and all the circuit load panel and wiring upgrades were made. 

2020 Fire Season is Coming

And utilities need to be ready. California has urged all investor-owned utilities to ramp up their speeds so that applications for SGIP grants can be fulfilled in a month or two, instead of the typical 90 days. In other words, California's taking this really, really seriously. Behind-the-meter battery projects are now the priority, and California's focusing on individual homeowners.

No matter where you live in California, if you want to protect your power, there may be funding available. At Swell, we make it our business to know every single incentive California has to offer. Hit us up, and let's work together to make sure you're not left in the dark this wildfire season.