By Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World
In a bipartisan victory for local clean energy, the California Assembly passed SB 700 (Wiener) today with a 45-15 vote (at time of passage). The bill would result in nearly 3,000 MW of behind-the-meter energy storage systems at schools, farms, homes, nonprofits and businesses in California by 2026. The resulting program would be on par with the highly successful program California set in motion with the Million Solar Roofs Initiative back in 2006.
“We are 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 has championed SB 700 for the past two years. ”SB 700 will do for storage what SB 1 did for solar over a decade ago, namely create a mainstream market by driving up demand and driving down costs all while creating jobs and clean energy choices for consumers.”
SB 700 would achieve these goals by re-authorizing the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for an additional 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 sites 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 passed by the California Assembly yesterday.
“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 (D-SF), author of SB 700. “This bill will protect clean energy jobs while also protecting consumers from ever rising energy bills.”
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 now heads to the Senate for concurrence before being put on the governor’s desk for a signature sometime in September.