Solar and Energy Storage: technology's ultimate symbiotic relationship.

The market for storage needs to develop in pace with the gradually increasing challenge of managing solar on the grid. Currently, only three percent of customers have solar, and that amount of solar does not greatly impact the engineering challenges of managing the electric grid. But with the growth trajectory of solar, energy storage will soon be necessary.

California’s main vehicle for encouraging customer-sited storage is the Self-Generation Incentive Program, which pays rebates of $1.62 per watt. Many of the rules for SGIP have been up in the air, and CALSEIA has been pushing for fair treatment for energy storage.

The $87 million annual SGIP budget is shared with fuel cells, combined heat and power, and other technologies. In previous years the funding has been subscribed very quickly, and that trend is expected to continue. CALSEIA is building support for a much larger incentive program.

We have also fought to protect the right of solar customers to have batteries without losing eligibility for net metering. The utilities have erected barriers to interconnecting storage and have resisted reforms that would streamline the process. As storage becomes more widely available, we need to make sure the process for installing storage is easy and transparent.

A 2015 CALSEIA/GTM research paper found that 10% of behind-the-meter solar installations are likely to include storage by 2020.