In this post, we will explain what SGIP is, which projects are eligible for funding, and what to expect if you enter the application queue. Find answers to all your questions and resources for your application at our SGIP information page.
If you have electric service from an investor-owned utility in California, you’ve contributed funds to SGIP. You and your customers might as well benefit by claiming some of the available incentives.
What is SGIP?
SGIP provides financial incentives for California investor-owned utility customers to install new technologies designed to meet some or all their electricity needs on site. The program, created in 2001, encourages deployment of renewable generation technologies, greenhouse gas reduction, and grid reliability improvements. Before the California Solar Initiative got underway in 2006, SGIP was providing incentives for grid-tied PV systems. Now SGIP places heavy focus on energy storage systems, with a carveout for residential systems under 10 kW. The California Public Utilities Commission has authorized and funded the program through 2020, or until funds are gone.
One important difference as California reopens SGIP is that the program now covers Southern California Gas Company customers. This extends eligibility to a few significant groups who get electricity service from municipal utilities, such as Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) and Imperial Irrigation District.
To qualify for SGIP funding, projects must be permanently installed with an expected lifetime of at least 10 years, interconnected to the grid on the customer side of the meter, and certified by a nationally-recognized test laboratory. UL issued Enphase its first UL 9540 certification, verifying that the Enphase Storage System meets the strictest national safety standards.
Systems that are not eligible to participate include those designed to provide backup power only; those that have been rebuilt, refurbished, or relocated equipment; and those that have been interconnected for more than 12 months.
Please note: You can apply for funding for recently installed energy storage systems. Systems that have received permission to operate within 12 months before the date of application are eligible for SGIP funds.
To ensure that SGIP funds are available to a variety of project developers, the program requires developers to disclose details about their business relationships and eligibility for funding in exchange for a “developer key” that must be provided with all project applications. Individual developers are limited to 20 percent of funds in each budget category and each funding round.
What incentives are available?
SGIP funding is split up with 25 percent for energy generation projects, including wind power, biogas, and fuel cell technologies, and 75 percent for storage, with 11 percent reserved for residential projects under 10 kW in capacity.
Funding for residential projects starts at 50¢ per Watt-hour (Wh) and drops down 5¢ at a time until the program reaches its fifth and final funding round at 30¢ per Wh. Funding is also affected by storage duration, with more incentives for short-duration storage of 2 hours or less. The incentive is cut in half for longer-duration storage up to 4 hours, and it’s halved again for longer-duration storage up to 6 hours.
It’s a good idea to include an energy storage kilowatt-hour calculation worksheet with each funding application. Contact your Enphase sales representative for a worksheet using AC Battery specifications. At the highest funding level, the Energy Storage System is eligible for an incentive covering $430.50 per AC Battery.
Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis unless the budget is oversubscribed on a single day. If oversubscribed, applications are selected according to a random lottery.
In the event of a lottery, applications from West Los Angeles and LADWP get priority due to grid stability challenges associated with the nearby Aliso Canyon natural gas leak. All other applications are considered at random, and selected projects are offered full funding until funds are no longer available. Any remaining funds can be used to provide a partial project incentive or be rolled over for use in a subsequent funding round.
Please note: Under current SGIP rules, system suppliers would have to manufacture battery cells in California to qualify for an in-state manufacturer’s bonus incentive. Enphase does not qualify. Nor does any other manufacturer, as far as we know.
How will incentives be awarded?
SGIP opens for new project applications at 1 a.m. on Monday, May 1. This does not mean you have to be awake at 1 a.m. to be first in line. Any application submitted by 11:59 p.m. on May 1 will be considered for the first round of funding. But be prepared ahead of time. Funding cannot be transferred from one project to another down the road.
How to apply for Enphase storage projects
Visit www.selfgenca.com to apply. Be prepared to pay a reservation fee equal to 5 percent of the requested incentive, or about $22 per AC Battery at the highest funding level.
Documents required for application include the online reservation request form, the Enphase AC Battery datasheet, the Enphase UL 9540 Certificate of Compliance, and proof of utility service, such as a recent bill showing account number, meter number, site address, and host customer name. San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas customers must provide the previous 12 months of bills. PG&E and SoCal Gas customers must submit a recent gas bill. SDG&E customers also have to include a form authorizing the program administrator to receive customer information.
Please note: We recommend using electronic signatures on SGIP contracts. This will expedite the process if any applications are deferred to a later funding round. We also recommend that you scan checks for application fees, submit scanned images with each application, and mail checks within 7 days.
Upon receipt of a complete application package, the SGIP program administrator will organize a field visit to verify that projects are installed as specified in the application. Systems will be tested to validate discharge energy capacity. All systems require installation of metering devices to measure and record electrical output for measurement and evaluation purposes. For projects under 30 kW, the program administrator or a third-party consultant may install meters to collect measurements.