claim SGIP rebate

How to claim your SGIP rebate

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One of the best financial incentives for batteries in the US is California’s Self Generation Incentive Program, or SGIP. If you are a home or business owner in California, SGIP provides rebates that help you to significantly reduce the cost of installing an energy storage product. We get a lot of questions from homeowners who are curious about how to best take advantage of this incentive program and to claim their SGIP rebate, so we read through all of the program documentation and compiled the relevant info below. Let us know what you think and, as always, feel free to reach out to one of our Energy Advisors if you have any questions about your specific project.

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A quick background on SGIP

As described in greater detail in our SGIP-specific article, SGIP is a tiered-block program that provides upfront rebate payments to customers in California that install energy storage systems based on the size of your system. The level of incentives gradually declines over time as more batteries are installed in the state: for instance, the program is now in Step 6 of rebates (as of November 2020).

To date, SGIP has been very successful in encouraging California home and business owners to install energy storage systems. In fact, in 2018, nearly sixty percent of all residential energy storage systems installed nationally were installed in California. To keep the program moving full-steam ahead, California passed Senate Bill 700 to extend the funding for SGIP, ultimately injecting an additional $675 million dollars into the program over the next five years.

What SGIP offers for energy storage

For residential customers, SGIP is currently in Step 6, which provides a rebate of $200 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of stored energy. As seen in the table below, for commonly installed batteries, this means a rebate payment between $2,000 and $4,000. If you pair your battery with a new or existing solar panel system, you can also claim the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which will refund you 26% of the cost of your battery as a credit on your taxes next year.

BatterykWh storedSGIP payment
Tesla Powerwall 213.5$2,700
LG Chem RESU 10H9.3$1,860
Sonnen eco 12.512.5$2,500
Blue Ion 2.016$3,200
ElectrIQ PowerPod 17.1
17.1$3,420
Panasonic Evervolt11.4$2,280
Generac PWRcell 1514.3$2,860
Enphase Encharge 1010$2,000

Note: many of these batteries are “stackable”, meaning you can work with your installer to add or subtract battery cells to get to the size of the system and cost that fits your home’s needs.

Importantly, SGIP also now provides a higher equity and equity resiliency rebate of $1,000 per kWh of stored energy. For families that meet certain income requirements, are in areas that are in high fire-threat districts, or have experienced multiple public safety power shutoff (PSPS) events, this rebate will effectively pay for the entire cost of your battery.

A quick note on SGIP funding

As of the time of writing, homeowners applying for SGIP equity and equity resiliency budgets in most of the state are being placed on funding waitlists. According to guidance from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the SGIP Program Administrator and the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA), this is the case for one primary reason: although the CPUC approved the additional $700 million in funding for the SGIP program, the funds have not yet been released. Based on what we’ve read and heard, it sounds like this funding will become available in July of this year. 

How to claim your SGIP rebate

The quick answer? Work with an experienced installer, and they will do most of the work! 

CPUC provides the following steps as guidance for claiming the SGIP rebate: 

  1. Do your research and find reputable, experienced local contractors (which you can do easily on EnergySage!);
  2. Work with installers to determine and install the right battery for you;
  3. And work with your installer to fill out the application, and your installer will submit the application for you.

For installers, the application is much more complicated than this three-step process for homeowners. Upfront, they’ll need to submit a reservation for a spot in the queue for the specific incentive level. This includes rather in-depth forms for monitoring plans and site evaluation. Then, once the project is installed, to ultimately claim the rebate, your installer will submit forms with a detailed cost breakdown for the project as installed.

If you have any questions about the process overall, your electric utility is the program administrator for SGIP rebates, and can be a great resource to help you with the application process.

Find reputable installers by shopping on EnergySage

A great way to receive quotes for solar and storage from reputable solar installers is to sign up for a free account on the EnergySage Marketplace. With just your address and monthly bill amount, installers will provide you with custom-designed solar and storage systems to meet your home’s needs. Interested but want to learn more about saving with solar first? Check out our quick and easy Solar Calculator to estimate how much you could start saving by going solar.

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About Spencer Fields

Spencer is the Manager of Market Strategy & Intelligence at EnergySage, where he writes about all things energy. Prior to joining EnergySage, he spent five years at Synapse Energy Economics, providing environmental, economic and policy analysis for public interest groups. Spencer has degrees in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies from Brown University, meaning when he's not in the office you can find him outside or traveling somewhere to work on his Spanish.

3 thoughts on “How to claim your SGIP rebate

  1. AvatarGuy Varcados

    Tesla says they only get 20% of they SGIP market and have well exceeded that amount for all tiers.
    I find that difficult to believe as they are a large, if not the largest, distributor of stored energy devices…
    I have heard they do not assist with SGIP applications and processing.
    What are my alternatives?
    Are there any other avenues I can follow to claim my rebate that is due?

    Thank you

    Guy

    Reply
  2. AvatarChris

    I do not believe that the battery subsidies are treated as gross income. Section 136(a) of the IRS Code (which you can Google) states that “Gross income shall not include the value of any subsidy provided (directly or indirectly) by a public utility to a customer for the purchase or installation of any energy conservation measure.” In this case, you are applying to Edison/PG&E for approval from their share of the ‘equity resilience’ funds that were set aside by the California Public Utility Commission so the rebate subsidy comes from public utility to the home owner.
    An energy conservation measure is defined in Section 136 C(1) as “any installation or modification primarily designed to reduce consumption of electricity or natural gas or to improve the management of energy demand with respect to a dwelling unit.”
    A dwelling unit is “a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat, or similar property, and all structures or other property appurtenant to such dwelling unit.”
    Since the Tesla batteries are intended to ‘improve the management of energy demand’ because they can be recharged during non peak times and discharged during peak demand times, they improve the management of energy demand in addition to acting as a back up when the grid goes down.
    This is probably worth discussing with your tax accountant in the event that you get a 1099-G for the rebate and the accountant isn’t sure whether to include it as income or not in your tax return.

    Reply
  3. AvatarDennis Nord

    Are rebate funds taxable as income? Say that I got $3500 as a battery rebate do I then expect to pay tax on that amount as income?

    Are federal tax credits on the final cost after the rebate or on the full amount of the installation? So if my installation of batteries come to $14000-3500= $11500. Is the $11500 the amount the federal credit is based on or is it the full $14000?

    Reply

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