California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 700 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-SF) keeping California in the driver’s seat of building a reliable and safe clean energy future.
“If we are going to get to 100% clean energy, we need to be using solar power every hour of the day, not just when the sun is shining,” said Senator Scott Wiener, author of SB 700. “This bill will protect clean energy jobs while also protecting consumers from ever rising energy bills.”
SB 700 will make the “sun shine at night” through the addition of hundreds of thousands of energy storage devices and batteries connected to hundreds of thousands of solar panels over the next 8-10 years. Energy storage is a critical technological partner in the widescale deployment of renewable energy. SB 700 will result in nearly three gigawatts of energy storage systems at schools, farms, homes, nonprofits and businesses in California by 2026 that will benefit consumers, ratepayers and the environment. The resulting program would be on par with the highly successful Million Solar Roofs Initiative launched back in 2006.
“By signing this bill, the governor is making the sun shine at night!” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association, the 500-member clean energy business group that championed SB 700 for the past two years. ”Energy storage is critical to achieving our ambitious climate change goals by allowing massive deployment of solar energy and giving everyday consumers another reason to be green.”
SB 700 re-authorizes the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for five years, extending rebates for consumers through 2025. It would add up to $800 million for storage and other emerging clean energy technologies, resulting in a total investment of $1.2 billion for customer sited energy storage. Boosting energy storage will help California achieve its goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable resources, as called for in SB 100 (de Leon), which was signed into law on September 10th. A summary of SB 700 with more details about the SGIP program can be found here.
The California solar and storage industry supports over 86,000 jobs, far more than the traditional utilities. These jobs are in jeopardy unless the storage market achieves the same mainstream success as solar, which saw an 80% decline in costs over the course of the 10-year incentive program and an astounding 20-fold increase in installed local solar energy systems.
“SB 700 provides clear and consistent policy that will drive down costs, expand access, and support job growth,” said Alex McDonough, Vice President of Public Policy for Sunrun, the nation’s largest residential solar, storage and energy services company. “Solar combined with batteries is a clean, reliable and affordable solution that can and should be available to all.”
SB 700 won broad, bipartisan support in the California legislature in August with a 25-12 vote in the Senate and a 57-18 vote in the Assembly. It was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 27, 2018. The new law will take effect January 1, 2019.
— Solar Builder magazine