For the second time in the past two weeks, homes and businesses in California are without power. The prospect of continued Public Safety Power Shutoff events are leaving communities wondering how they can manage through outages that could last for days at a time. I was on the phone with a school district official shortly after the start of the earlier October power shutoff event. Their team was scrambling from location to location with diesel generators trying to save their food perishables and keep their critical infrastructure operating. For Cities, Schools, & Water Agencies, there is a program that could offer some help.

California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) is a long-standing program designed to support the deployment of distributed energy resources, including battery energy storage systems. In their recent decision (D.19-09-027) the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made several new changes to the program designed to support battery energy storage deployment in Disadvantaged or Low-Income Communities. The table below outlines two incentive levels for particular organizations in particular regions. In both cases, these incentive levels will cover most of the cost of a battery energy storage system.

SGIP Equity Incentive SGIP Equity Resiliency Incentive
Incentive Level $0.85 / Wh $1.00 / Wh
Organizations that Qualify
  • Local & State Government Agencies
  • Educational Institutions
  • Non-Profits
  • Small Businesses
  • Police & fire stations, 911 call centers
  • Medical facilities
  • Public & private gas, electric, water, wastewater or flood control facilities
  • Jails & prisons
  • Locations designated by utility to provide assistance during PSPS events
  • Cooling centers designated by state or local governments
  • Homeless shelters supported by federal, state, or local governments
Other Requirements
  • Must be in PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E territory (including CCAs in these regions)
  • Must be located in a Disadvantaged Community (DAC) OR located in a Low-Income Community


  • Must be in PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E territory (including CCAs in these regions)
  • Must be located in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 High Fire Threat District (HFTD)
  • Must provide critical services to a community that
    • Located in a Tier 3 or Tier 2 HFTD
    • AND either a DAC OR Low-Income community


  • Disadvantaged Community (DAC): defined as any census tract that ranks in the top 25 percent most affected census tracts in the most recently release version of CalEnviroScreen3.0.
  • Low-Income Community: (1) census tracts with median household incomes at or below 80 percent of the statewide median income; or (2) with median household incomes at or below the threshold designated as low-income pursuant to Section 50093. 
  • Tier 2 or Tier 3 High Fire Threat District (HFTD): as designated by the CPUC

The Benefits of Battery Energy Storage Systems

When deployed at your facilities, battery energy storage systems can provide two substantial types of benefits

Financial Benefits

  • Reducing your energy costs through lowering your demand charges
  • When paired with solar, earning bill credits through exporting energy to the grid when power is most expensive (under California’s new, emerging battery energy export programs, live in SCE and SDG&E territories, coming soon in PG&E territory)
  • Earning revenue through participating in Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) and other grid services programs

Backup Power Benefits

When coupled with solar and the proper switching & controls, batteries can be used to form a microgrid that can provide backup power to your facilities in the event of a grid outage.

To learn more about how energy storage systems could benefit your team, reach out to us at for objective market expertise from our team of independent energy advisors.