SGIP Equity Budget Updates

On September 19, 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a Final Decision[1] (D. 19-09-027) establishing a Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) Equity Resiliency Budget and modifying existing Equity Budget incentives. This briefing document summarizes those modifications. For an overall primer on SGIP, see GI Energy’s April 2019 briefing paper[2]. This paper builds on that work.

Equity Budget Eligibility Criteria Updates

    1. Locational Updates

The current SGIP Equity Budget eligibility criteria require projects to be in a Disadvantaged Community (DAC). DACs are designated through an environmental justice scoring framework and are characterized by high levels of pollution and poverty. D. 19-09-027 updates the Equity Budget criteria to include projects located in Indian Country. Since areas in Indian Country typically have high poverty levels, but low pollution levels, they may not qualify as DACs under the original framework.

Non-residential project eligibility for the Equity Budget has been expanded to “any facility owned or operated by a public agency that provides services to DAC community members, for which at least 50% of census tracts served are DACs.” No longer must non-residential projects be located within the borders of a DAC to qualify for SGIP funds.

    1. Market-based Updates

Any customer approved for participation in the existing SOMAH, MASH, SASH, or DAC-SASH[3] programs (the IOU low-income solar programs) is automatically eligible for SGIP incentives from the equity budget.


Equity Resiliency Budget Creation

D. 19-09-027 creates a new SGIP budget specifically reserved for Critical Resiliency customers.

    1. Eligibility Criteria

Critical Resiliency customers are divided into residential and non-residential groups and defined as follows.

Residential customers are eligible for the Equity Resiliency budget if each of the following criteria are met:

  • The customer lives within a Tier 2 or Tier 3 HFTD[1] and,
  • The customer is one of the following
    • Eligible for the equity budget
    • A medical baseline customer
    • A customer that has notified their utility of serious illness or condition that could become life-threatening if electricity is disconnected

Non-residential customers are eligible for the Critical Resiliency budget if each of the following criteria are met:

  • The customer is in a Tier 3 or Tier 2 HFTD
  • The customer provides critical services or critical infrastructure during a PSPS[2] event to communities in Tier 2 or Tier 3 HFTDs that are eligible for the equity budget

Critical facilities include cooling centers, homeless shelters, hospital and medical facilities, and police and fire departments. See the D. 19-09-027 for a complete list of eligible critical facilities.

    1. Incentive Structure

D. 19-09-027 modifies the incentive structure for storage systems that qualify for the Equity Budget. The new incentive calculation allows storage systems with discharge durations of 4-6 hours to receive 50% of the base incentive rate, rather than 0%. This is done to encourage the use of long-duration energy storage systems for backup power during grid outage events.

D. 19-09-027 also increases the Equity Budget incentive rate to:

  • $1.00/Wh if in a Tier 2 or 3 HFTD and a critical resiliency needs customer
  • $1.00/Wh if in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 HFTD and enrolled in SASH/MASH/SOMAH/or DAC-SASH
  • $0.85/Wh for all other equity budget customers

This is a significant change to SGIP equity incentive rates. Former incentive rates for the Equity Budget ranged from $0.25/Wh to $0.50/Wh. The incentive increase is a clear indication of the CPUC’s beliefs on the importance of DER development within HFTDs.


To discuss anything raised by this briefing update, please contact Alexandra Caryotakis – acaryotakis@gienergyus.com




[3] Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH), Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH), Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH), Disadvantaged Communities Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (DAC-SASH)

[4] High Fire Threat District. Areas where there is an elevated risk for power line fires igniting and spreading rapidly. Information on fire threat areas is available here: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/firethreatmaps/

[5]Public Safety Power Shutoff