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PG&E offering free residential battery storage systems for vulnerable customers

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Credit: Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

This week, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced a new financial assistance pilot for residential customers to install home battery storage systems through the statewide Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). Approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on July 16, 2020, the pilot will allow eligible customers to install the technology at no cost to them.

PG&E stated that it will provide financial incentives for customers installing equipment for generating and storing energy for their homes. Typically, a customer who applies for SGIP receives the rebate once the project is complete, requiring customers to pay upfront. Under the new plan, eligible customers pay nothing for the systems.

More on the SGIP:

To qualify for the pilot, residential customers need to:

Be on the Medical Baseline Program; and/or Have notified PG&E of a medical condition that could be life-threatening if power is lost; and/or Be income-qualified customers who live in low-income residential housing. AND Live in a tier 2 or 3 High-Fire Threat District as defined by the CPUC; or Had their power turned off for safety as part of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event two or more times.

A home battery is connected to PG&E’s electric grid and charged from the grid or the customer’s rooftop solar system, if applicable. A home battery, or solar+storage installation, can extend the homes power for several hours to several days, depending on the battery system size and the customer’s energy needs.

More on PPSP events and outage management:

“Incentives for energy technologies offered through this statewide program allow our customers to have more choice and control over their energy. We strongly support California’s direction providing additional financial assistance helping our vulnerable customers install storage at home so they have backup power when they may need it most,” said Laurie Giammona, PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.

PG&E is partnering with community-based organizations to reach eligible customers. The community-based organizations can connect customers with contractors who have been previously approved through the SGIP program. The customer’s contractor, or community partner, can help walk them through the application, eligibility and approval to have 100% of the costs covered before the installation begins.