SGIP Info: Battery Storage Rebates Up to 100% for Californians
Through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), Californians who live in fire zones and meet other eligibility requirements can get a rebate on battery storage for up to 100% of the total cost of the project.
Whether it’s paired with solar panels or not, battery storage can be used as a backup electricity source during power outages and to avoid high utility prices during peak demand periods.
The biggest hurdle to battery storage is cost. But between the 30% federal tax credit for battery storage and the SGIP rebate, eligible California homeowners can significantly reduce this barrier or eliminate it altogether.
In this article, we’ll cover basic SGIP info, explain who is eligible, and give you a roadmap for claiming your battery rebate.
SGIP Basic Info
The Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is run by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and offers a rebate for installing battery storage in your home.
The SGIP rebate works as a reimbursement after the project is installed and applies to both the equipment and installation cost of a battery storage project. Battery storage does not need to be paired with solar in order to qualify for SGIP – although there are benefits to pairing solar and battery storage, especially in California.
While a good chunk of Californians qualify for a 15% SGIP rebate based on their utility, some qualify for the rebates that cover 85% or even 100% of the cost of battery storage. That’s right, some Californians qualify for free battery storage through SGIP.
Why does California offer rebates for battery storage?
Battery backup may seem like a nice-to-have for most homeowners, but it can be a crucial lifeline for people that face frequent power outages and rely on electricity to power medical devices and water wells.
In addition to safety concerns, California’s energy grid benefits from residential battery storage during times of extreme heat and fire risk.
In fact, during a record heat wave in September 2022, 80,000 residential batteries charged by solar panels and tied to the grid provided 340 MW of power (roughly the capacity of a mid-sized power plant) during peak hours to help avoid rolling blackouts.
So not only is battery storage beneficial to homeowners, it can make the local grid more resilient during extreme weather events.
Residential battery storage is a win-win for California residents and utilities – hence the SGIP rebates. Now let’s see who qualifies for this substantial battery discount.
SGIP Eligibility Info
There are three tiers of SGIP rebate, with incentive amounts ranging from $150 to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour of battery storage installed. Assuming battery storage typically costs $1,000 per kWh (including installation costs), this amounts to around 15-100% of the project cost.
General: $150 per kilowatt of battery storage installed (~15% off)
Equity: $850 per kilowatt-hour of battery storage installed (~85% off)
Equity Resilience: $1,000 per kilowatt-hour of battery storage installed (~100% off)
The chart below shows the basic eligibility requirements for each SGIP rebate tier. Please note, this is a summary-level chart and rebate amounts are subject to change. We’ll go into further detail in the following sections.
SGIP eligibility info chart
|Incentive tier||Who is eligible?||Rebate amount|
|General Market (Small Residential Storage)||Any residential customer of:
||$150* per kilowatt-hour of battery storage installed
||$850 per kilowatt-hour of battery storage installed (around 85% of the project cost)|
AND meet one of the following conditions:
|$1,000 per kilowatt-hour of battery storage installed (around 100% of project cost)|
*Rebate levels as of July 27, 2023. Rates subject to change as programs progress into new phases. Check here for latest incentive availability and rebate amounts.
Of course, everyone would love to get a 100% rebate for battery storage, but these higher rebates are reserved for lower-income, medically vulnerable, and at-risk for fire communities and therefore have stricter eligibility requirements.
Here’s how to find out if you qualify for Equity ($850/kWh) or Equity Resiliency ($1,000/kWh) SGIP rebates.
SGIP Equity Rebate: How to get ~85% off battery storage
This rebate tier is designed for lower-income communities and eligibility is based on housing.
First off, as you’re shopping for battery storage options, ask the installers if they are aware of SGIP rebates and how to apply for them. Installers can apply on your behalf and vastly reduce the legwork required from you.
If you’d rather do the work yourself, there are three main ways to find out if you’re eligible for the SGIP Equity rebate worth $850 per kWh of battery storage installed.
- You live eligible low-income single-family or multifamily housing
- You previously qualified for affordable solar incentives
- You live in California Indian Country
If you live in a single-family home, you may qualify if you are subject to a resale restriction or in an equity sharing agreement.
You should be aware if you’re in an equity sharing agreement or subject to resale restrictions. If not, the blue sections of this SGIP eligibility map represent census tracts with presumed resale restrictions.
Here’s a look at presumed eligibility areas near Los Angeles:
If you live in multifamily housing (such as an apartment) you may be eligible for the SGIP Equity rebate if the building:
- Has at least five rental housing units that are operated to provide deed-restricted low-income residential housing, and
- Is either located in a disadvantaged community (see this map) or where at least 80% of the households have incomes at or below 60% of the area median income
Finally, if you’re home or apartment is eligible for the SGIP Equity rebate if it has already qualified for one of the following affordable solar programs:
- Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH)
- Disadvantaged Communities –Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH)
- Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Program (SOMAH)
- Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH)
Again, your battery storage installer may be able to help you navigate the SGIP eligibility and application processes.
SGIP Equity Resiliency Rebate: How to get up to 100% off battery storage
The highest SGIP rebate tier is called Equity Resiliency. This rebate of $1,000 per kWh of battery storage installed is reserved for Californians that meet at least one criterium from each column in the chart below:
SGIP Equity Resiliency rebate qualifications
|Column A (at least one to qualify)||Column B (at least one to qualify)|
|Located in a Tier 2 or 3 High Fire Threat District (HFTD)||Eligible for SGIP Equity rebate (based on qualifications above)|
|Experienced two or more Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)||Currently enrolled in a utility Medical Baseline Program (shown on your utility bill)|
|Have notified your utility of a serious and/or life-threatening illness if electricity is disconnected|
|Previously qualified for SASH, DAC-SASH, SOMAH, OR MASH|
|Home relies on an electric pump for water|
To find out if you are located in a Tier 2 or 3 High Fire Threat District or have experienced two PSPS, use the SGIP Eligibility Map (show below).
This map layers:
- Tier 2 and 3 California fire zones (purple),
- Areas with two or more PSPS events (orange)
- Census tracts with presumed resale restrictions (blue)
For example, the good folks on the east side of Highway 53 in Clearlake (shown above) fall into all three zones, and likely qualify for 100% battery storage rebates because they are in a high risk fire zone, have had two PSPS events, AND live in a presumed resale restriction area.
Meanwhile, much of the area surrounding Los Angeles is in a Tier 2 or 3 fire zone or has experienced two or more PSPS events, but is not a presumed resale restriction tract.
Even if they are not in low-income housing, residents of these purple and orange areas can still qualify for the $1,000 per kWh Equity Resiliency rebate if they:
- Are enrolled in a Medical Baseline Program
- Qualifying medical devices vary by utility. But as a baseline, SCE includes an aerosol tent, apnea monitor, breather machine (IPPB), dialysis machine, motorized wheelchair/scooter, oxygen generator, respirator, pulse oximeter/monitor and more.
- Have notified their utility of a serious and/or life threatening illness if electricity is disconnected
- Rely on an electric pump for water
We get it – that’s a lot of maps, numbers, rules and stipulations. So here’s a rule of thumb:
If you would be without water or a medical device during a power outage, talk to a battery storage installer about an SGIP Equity Resiliency rebate.
How to claim an SGIP Rebate
To be honest, claiming your SGIP rebate is a bit of a process. In fact, CPUC itself calls it a very “nuanced” program in this 90-minute video explaining the application process. (I’ll save you 90 minutes and say this video is not very helpful)
But it’s totally worth it. Even the lowest rebate amount — $150 per kWh installed — is worth $750 on a 5 kWh battery project. And if you rely on electricity to run a medical device or water pump during a power outage but you can’t afford battery at full price, than the SGIP rebate is a lifeline.
Some installers will handle the SGIP rebate application process on your behalf, but it’s best to be prepared to go it alone. The process goes something like this:
- Submit a Reservation Request here
- Receive a Confirmed Reservation Letter
- Proceed with your battery storage installation
- When the project is complete, submit an Incentive Claim Form
- A program administrator may schedule an inspection
- Once approved, the incentive payment process begins
The key seems to be making a Reservation Request to secure your rebate. The SGIP program has limited funds for each rebate tier and it’s wise to apply early before they run out.
The entire application process is described in this handbook. You can also reach out to program administrators at your utility.
|Pacific Gas and Electricfirstname.lastname@example.org||(415) 973-6436||http://www.pge.com/sgip|
|San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)||email@example.com||(858) 244-1177||http://www.energycenter.org/self-generation-incentive-program|
|Southern California Edison (SCE)||SGIPGroup@sce.com||(626) 302-0610||http://www.sce.com/SGIP|
Can you combine SGIP with the 30% federal tax credit?
Yes! You can maximize your battery storage savings by combing the SGIP rebate with the 30% Residential Clean Energy Credit created by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Beginning in 2023, this tax credit will apply to battery storage that’s not paired with solar, which means eligible Californians can pair the SGIP with the 30% tax credit without having to buy solar, too.
The Residential Clean Energy Credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of a battery storage project from your tax liability. So if you installed $10,000 worth of battery in 2023, you can claim a $3,000 tax credit on your 2023 taxes (filed in early 2024), which can increase your refund amount or reduce the amount of tax you owe.
Consult a licensed tax professional for advice regarding claiming federal tax credits.
Here’s the kicker: The federal tax credit applies to the project cost after the SGIP rebate is applied. So if the gross project costs $10,000 and your rebate is worth $1,500, the 30% tax credit applies to the $8,500 remaining after the SGIP rebate is applied.
Applying the SGIP rebate before the tax credit ensures that people don’t get a tax credit for battery storage they didn’t actually pay for.
Let’s take a look at some example scenarios.
Combing SGIP and 30% ITC example
Let’s see how combining an SGIP rebate and 30% federal tax credit looks for two PG&E customers installing a 10 kWh battery storage project with total cost of $10,000.
- Customer A does not qualify for the Equity or Equity Resiliency rebate.
- Customer B qualifies for the Equity rebate because she lives in a single-family home with a resale restriction.
|PG&E Customer A||PG&E Customer B|
|10 kWh battery storage (equipment + installation)||$10,000||$10,000|
|SGIP rebate tier||General: $150 per kWh||Equity: $850 per kWh|
|SGIP rebate amount||$1,500||$8,500|
|Project cost after SGIP rebate||$8,500||$1,500|
|Federal tax credit amount (30% of project cost after SGIP rebate)||$2,550||$450|
|Combined Incentive amount||$4,050 (40.5%)||$8,950 (89.5%)|
|Net project cost** (after incentives)||$5,950||$1,050|
**It’s important to note that the net project cost isn’t what you pay upfront. Both the SGIP rebate and federal tax credit disbursed after the system has been installed and deemed operational.
Both customers would still pay $10,000 upfront for their battery (unless their installer covers this cost) and would receive the rebates and tax credits later.
SGIP Rebate Info: The Bottom Line
Through the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), California offers the best battery storage incentive of any state, and the additional battery storage has helped stave off rolling blackouts as recently as September 2022.
Customers of investor-owned utilities PG&E, SCE, SoCalGas, and SDG&E currently qualify for a rebate of at least $150 per kWh of battery storage installed. Certain customers with medical vulnerabilities and high fire and power outage risk may qualify for $1,000 per kWh, which may cover the entire cost of a battery storage project.
The trick to claiming your SGIP rebate is making a Reservation Request early in the process to secure your spot in line before funds run out.
Through the solar.com marketplace powered by Electrum, you can compare multiple quotes from carefully-vetted battery installers. Get started here.
SGIP Rebate Info Frequently Ask Questions
Is there a government rebate for solar batteries?
In California, the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is a rebate worth between $150 and $1,000 per kWh of battery storage installed for eligible residential projects. This rebate is available after the battery storage is installed and, in some cases, can cover the entire amount of the project.
There is also a federal tax credit for battery storage worth 30% of the gross cost of the project that can be used in conjunction with SGIP rebates.
Are there rebates for solar battery in California?
Yes, the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers rebates for battery storage projects whether they care connected to solar or not. The rebate is worth between $150 and $1,000 per kWh of battery storage installed, depending on income, medical vulnerabilities, fire-risk and other factors.
Where to file California rebate for solar battery?
Eligible California residents can apply for the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) rebate through the SGIP Online Application Database. However, an experienced and reputable installer can apply for the rebate on your behalf.
Can renters qualify for the SGIP battery storage rebate?
Yes, renters in qualifying buildings can apply for an SGIP battery storage rebate and will need to work with their landlord to do so.
Do I have to have solar to qualify for the SGIP battery rebate?
No, you do not need to have or buy solar panels to qualify for the SGIP battery rebate. However, there are substantial benefits to pairing solar panels with battery storage.