Assembly Passes Senator Wiener’s Bill to Expand Solar Energy Storage in California

SB 700 will transform the energy storage market to provide 24-hour solar power in California so that all communities benefit from clean, renewable energy
August 29, 2018

Sacramento  Today, the Assembly passed a bill by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to transform the California energy storage market and extend solar usage into the evening and night hours. SB 700 will provide customer rebates for installing energy storage systems, just as California once did for solar panels, by extending the critical Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for five years past its current expiration date. Increasing energy storage will extend solar usage into the evening and night, helping California to meet its aggressive renewable energy goals.

SB 700 was approved by a vote of 45-15, and will now head to the Senate for its final vote. If passed, it will go to the Governor for his signature.

“We are one step closer to meeting our aggressive renewable energy goals,” said Senator Wiener. “By expanding our use of energy storage we will be able to use solar power every hour of the day, not just when the sun is shining.  This bill will also help to expand solar use in every city and neighborhood in California, not just those that can afford it. SB 700 will ensure that all communities benefit from these rebates and from an increase in renewable energy.”

The SGIP provides rebates to customers for installing energy storage systems, which allow solar power to be used at all hours of the day by addressing the so-called "duck curve" - the challenge of over-production of solar energy during the day and under-production at night. By supporting and incentivizing the development of better and more efficient energy storage technologies, SB 700 will reduce the costs for energy storage just as previous rebate programs did for solar power.  SB 700 is supported by over 60 environmental, labor, solar, and environmental justice organizations.

“SB 700 is the biggest little energy bill of the year and will prove to be the most historic in terms of transforming the future of energy in California and beyond,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director for the California Solar and Storage Association, the state’s largest clean energy business group. “With SB 700, we are putting batteries in the hands of all consumers giving them the ability to make the sun shine at night, all while protecting local jobs and strengthening our electric grid. Bravo to Senator Wiener for his vision and tenacity in getting this bill to the finish line.”

California is the leading producer of solar energy in the country, with over 15,000 megawatts of solar energy installed, which is enough solar energy to power over 3.7 million homes. In addition to the significant environmental benefits provided by solar, the solar industry also employs over 75,000 people throughout California, which includes manufacturers, distributors, and installers. 

SB 700 will provide greater long-term certainty to manufacturers of small storage systems, which provide benefits ranging from improved integration of renewable energy to greater resiliency in cases of wildfire or other natural disasters. With this program extended, the energy storage market will have certainty and support to develop energy storage technologies, which will make technology more efficient, more effective, and economical.

SB 700 Text: