California Senate Approves Bill for Energy Storage Rebate Program

The California Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would create a 10-year rebate program for the state’s local energy storage market.

According to a bill analysis from the California legislature, SB 700 directs the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), by Dec. 1, 2018, to establish a program called the Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) to provide rebates to customers of California’s investor-owned utilites for the installation of customer-sited energy storage systems that are dispatch capable to achieve market transformation.

“In California, we are pushing aggressive renewable energy goals because we know that fighting climate change means taking action now,” California Sen. Scott Wiener, author of the bill, said in a June 1 statement. “This bill will push us down the path to 100 percent renewable energy. To meet our goals, we need solar, storage, and other renewable energy resources in every city and neighborhood in California, not just those that can afford it. This bill will transform energy storage so that all can reap the benefits of clean, renewable energy.”

The CPUC would be in charge of determining the annual amount to be collected from ratepayers that is between $62.3 million and $141.1 million, and authorizes the CPUC, after two years of ESI program operation, to limit eligibility by customer income. The bill also prohibits recovery of ESI costs from customers participating in the state’s CARE program.

In addition, the bill reserves at least 30 percent of ESI funds for energy storage systems in low-income residential housing and on properties located in disadvantaged communities or low-income communities that are owned by a small business, local or state government agency, education institution, or nonprofit organization. 

The bill was sent to the State Assembly on June 1.

“Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Scott Wiener, Californians are one step closer to taking control of their clean energy future,” Laura Gray, energy storage policy advisor with the California Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement. “This bill would allow homes, businesses, schools and public buildings to use solar and renewable energy at all hours of the day and night. Using a combination of solar and storage, consumers will make the sun shine at night.”

Lead image credit: Port of San Diego | Sullivan Solar Power | Flickr

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