Major Retailers See Business Sense in Going Solar

We have been waiting for this signature for the last few weeks, and finally, Governor Brown signed SB 700 which extends the SGIP incentive 5 years.  If you follow our social media accounts, you may have seen over the last month we have slowly been celebrating each step closer to the governor's desk. We hoped he would have signed the bill a few days earlier, so we could celebrate it more at Solar Power International in Anaheim, but it made for some great news on the last day of SPI.

R2D2 Sonnen Batteries

The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) provides rebates for energy storage systems that are installed.  The program itself has been plagued by lottery disbursements of rebates as funds dry up.  When funds are used up, the lottery program favors areas that needed more grid reliability, and contracts would need to have fine print saying there was a chance the SGIP rebate would not be available. With the rapid expansion of storage in California and the length of time between proposals, contracts, reservations, and installations meant a project could easily fall into the next step or beyond the reservation capacity of the program. Our sales and marketing engineer, Alex Deeter, met with several assembly members’ and state senators’ LA offices to promote the benefits of this bill and 25% allocation to low-income communities. A bulk of the effort was done in August by the California Solar & Storage Association’s annual Lobby Day of 200+ solar workers meeting with politicians in Sacramento.

SB 700 fixes the lottery by allocating an additional $830 million to the program. This makes the program like the California Solar Initiative which also lasted for about a decade with different steps. This program was reliable in that the difference between steps was not large so delays in the project would not be as costly.  This is especially important for batteries because of the availability of batteries. At SPI last week in Anaheim, we spoke with many battery manufacturers and we had flashbacks of the early days of solar and the panel shortages.  The issues, just like before, are that these companies are ramping up production as quickly as they can but everyone in the supply chain needs to help deliver.  With some unnamed companies favoring their own projects first, it easily delays projects by 3-6 months or even a year for large batteries.

Therefore, SunGreen Systems has partnered with Stem.  Stem is manufacturer agnostic because their secret sauce is their software.  Their Athena AI manages the batteries charge and anticipates the building's load.  We can use almost any battery with it, and Stem is keeping track of expected delivery times for us.

LG Solar Car Roof

This bill’s passage paves the path towards 100% renewable energy for California.  Many have called this bill the ‘Sun Shines at Night’ bill which is true. This program pairs perfectly with solar to provide clean power to charge the batteries to help offset the demand of a building but also to provide utilities with power when the sun isn’t shining. Over the next 5 years, this legislation will deliver batteries to the market in an ever-increasingly cost-effective way just like the CSI rebates did for solar. When the CSI rebate was over, solar could stand on its own two feet without additional rebates.  SB 700 should add approximately 1,500-2,000 MW of battery capacity to the grid. This is about as much as San Onofre could produce. Give us a call and see how your building can save with solar+storage.

If you would like to learn more about the passage of the SB 700 bill, we recommend checking out SolarWakeUp’s post about this or the California Solar and Storage Association’s ( 1-pager he posted. If you’d like to see what solar and storage or just storage alone can do for you, please fill out our consultation request form here.