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SGIP rebate for Powerwall 2 install in SCE territory?

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by Az_Rael, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    So I am getting very close to pulling the trigger on a solar system for our home. The question now is if we want to do Powerwalls now or later. The biggest factor with the "now" side of the coin is the SGIP rebate. One installer is telling us that for 2 Powerwalls its a $9310 rebate. He claims this all works out to a net of only $4690 for a $20,000 gross install on two Powerwall units if we install with our solar (I am not sure if he is double-dipping the 30% federal rebate plus the SGIP or if you can even do that). $20K gross sounds like a LOT for 2 Powerwalls as well.

    My concern is the likelihood of these rebates running out before we can actually claim them if we pull the trigger on this before the end of the month. Our install would probably take a couple of months, since I think permitting alone is 4-6 weeks in my town. (yay, local goverment)

    Any ideas on how fast the steps are running out of money and how realistic it is for me to get one? SCE is currently in Step 2 according to this: https://www.selfgenca.com/home/program_metrics/


    Tesla Energy is quoting a much lower price for Powerwall installs (only $1700 for the install after the cost of the powerwall). However, I am not sure how accurate that is to put in the subpanel for the battery backup since they don't actually do a site survey until you sign up ("for your protection" they said :rolleyes: ). They were very cagey about the SGIP rebate when I asked and implied I wouldn't get it.

    The other company I am looking at has installed around 600 Powerwalls apparently and will process the SGIP paperwork for you (which sounds like a big bonus). They do have them in stock and could reserve 2 for me, but I have to sign up by the end of the month.
     
  2. mrfeb14

    mrfeb14 Member

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    I started the SGIP process through Swell Engergy (Best Home Battery – Swell Energy). I am in Norther CA so under PG&E jurisdiction. It may be worth giving them a call. I also heard SCE and PG&E would be closing step 2 if you don't start the Application process by the end of the month.
     
  3. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    Can you apply prior to Install? If not I am already behind on that. That might make our decision easier.

    As far as my install costs go, i am wondering if this installer is gouging for the PW. Two Powerwalls are $11k from Tesla, so that is $9000 for install. Which seems....high.
     
  4. SoundDaTrumpet

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    #4 SoundDaTrumpet, Sep 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    In my opinion, this is scare tactics used by sales. It all about perspective, from Swell Energy's perspective the statement is true because they are about to hit the Step 2 developer cap similar to Tesla Energy who has already reached the developer cap. If you or your developer isn't anywhere near the cap, I don't expect Step 2 to end until 2018. My projection is based upon how only ~60% of the PGE funds are reserved/confirmed. The next top developers focus on other battery brands which don't have great value as Tesla's offering. I expect battery sales to slow. SGIP applications are being submitted at a rapidly decaying rate. All the battery enthusiasts in California have already put their Powerball orders in, and the rest will only move forward if it makes money sense.

    Again, if it makes money sense. There is a population of people that are installing regardless of getting rebates. Unfortunately I am not one of them as I am of the population that only will do this if it makes money sense (or net cost being closer to the cost of a nice laptop). My cost analysis shows this as a worthwhile venture/investment only if I can guarantee funds confirmed before install.

    It is hard to compare a company who is bleeding red and one who needs to be profitable. It is which business model you wish to go with for your installer. A company that did virtual site visit to keep costs down, direct sales and plenty of economies to scale vs. a company that expect a complex install with panel upgrade and reasonable profit margin as a reseller.

    With the one company, if you put your deposit in, it's refundable. Once your SGIP application is submitted, the ~$500 is non-refundable. Why? because the SGIP application itself requires about ~$500 non-refundable fee if you pull out. The money gets paid back to you after the battery is commissioned/interconnected. This has nothing to do with the developer/installer, this fee is mandatory and paid to your utility.

    I applied directly for the SGIP, so ~$500 is committed and non-refundable. Tesla has my Powerwall deposit money which is refundable. Tesla is on-hold to install until my SGIP funds are confirmed. I am fairly confident that everything will go well. It is just a test of patience as PGE is approving a few (<10) applications a week, which is almost a year of backlog.

    I just realized the OP's question was for SCE territory, but know that SCE reservation rates are even slower than PGE, and the SCE % of available funds are similar to PGE.
     
  5. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    So you have a powerwall reserved through Tesla and filed at that point? I didn't realize how the developer cap worked, but I just now skimmed the handbook. So if my installer is already at the 20% cap, I have to file myself? That explains why Tesla was so cagey about the incentive. I also didn't realize they were going so slow. Waiting over a year for to maybe get approved on a system I already installed is not in the cards.

    Can't make it easy, can they?
     
  6. SoundDaTrumpet

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    You need not file for yourself as there are few options: (a) join the wait list (and its accompanying forum here on TMC -giggles-) and have your developer/installer do the paperwork for you, (b) find another developer/installer who is uncapped, or (c) be your own developer and file for yourself (search for "rabbit hole" and devote part of your life to it -no joke-).

    My definition of "joining the wait list:" One can simply wait until Step 2 is over and have the developer re-apply for for Step 3. Rinse and repeat to Step 4 and to Step 5. This will take more than a year I predict unless the CPUC viewpoints change and the SGIP handbook is revised. Per CPUC direction: FYI, Step 3 introduces a disadvantaged communities carve out which has impacts that has not been included in the handbook.

    Tesla is cagey because: (a) they can't guarantee rebates and (b) not allowed to lend a helping hand for application for those who self-files.
     
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  7. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    OK, so I quizzed one installer about the SGIP rebate. They said I was likely to get it if I start the project now, and that once they hear back on the application (about a week, they said) they will guarantee my rebate with a clause in my contract.

    That sounds very promising. Only downside is their install costs. I need to ask about that over in main Powerwall thread, I guess.
     
  8. DeJa

    DeJa Member

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    I also had an interesting discussion with Tesla energy. It seems that depending on which company you talk to you get a completely different answer.

    Tesla Energy said that I had a 1 in 10 chance of getting the SGIP rebate meanwhile the guy managing the SGIP rebate for my utility said I would likely be in Step 3 (which hasn't opened yet) and if not almost surely in Step 4. The TE guy also said that adding on a battery storage system to an existing PV system would not be eligible for the 30% ITC credit meanwhile another installer said I would be.

    I really wish there was some consistency when it comes to what rebates/credits you are eligible for and which you aren't. I, like many others, would like to do this and am basing the decision on numbers. If it works for me I'll do it but the possibility of not getting $4,000 in SGIP rebates per Powerwall and the 30% ITC credit may just lead me to abandon it.

    Curious if you guys have any insight as to whether you're eligible for the 30% rebate if you're adding on batteries to an existing PV system.
     
  9. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    TE told me I could use the Federal on the whole install if I did it all at once. Their proposal shows that as well on my expected rebate. But I am getting solar too. I think the expectation was that if I did the batteries at a later date, I would not be eligible and several installers also told me that.

    Now, the SGIP rebate does get knocked down some for the amount of federal credit you get so you can't fully double dip. The handbook spells it out, I believe.
     
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  10. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    This NREL document claims that battery systems charged from solar (or other renewable) are eligible for the 30% ITC, even for existing solar installations. Their position is backed by an IRS private letter ruling.

    https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/67558.pdf
     
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  11. DeJa

    DeJa Member

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    An installer told me today that the SGIP and ITC were fully able to be double dipped. The SGIP handbook even seems to suggest this:
    5.3.4 Paired with On-site Renewables To be considered paired with and charging from on-site renewables, energy storage systems must either be claiming the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) or, if not claiming the ITC, charge a minimum of 75% from the on-site renewable generator.

    They do however reduce the SGIP for large generation projects (Appendix F) but from what I can see not for residential systems.

    Why oh why do they have to make these so darn complex! I may need to put in a call to the local SGIP office and find out.
     
  12. DeJa

    DeJa Member

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    Thanks, I did find that earlier in the day and came to the same conclusion. They of course don't come outright and say it but it's more back up to justify the position and really regardless if it's a new system or not it's in the spirit of the credit as well. Who cares if your panels are new or old, if the goal is to provide battery backup (which is partly it's goal) then I don't see why it would matter.

    "Investment Tax Credit Battery systems that are charged by a renewable energy system more than 75% of the time are eligible for the ITC,3 currently 30% for systems"

    They also say - 4. NREL does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional assistance.
     
  13. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    I looked at this section to determine if I could double dip:

    Screenshot_20170926-161013.png

    Reading this, I believe I will have a portion of my SGIP rebate knocked down by 50% because of the Federal tax credit.
     
  14. DeJa

    DeJa Member

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    Az_Rael, that's very interesting. I didn't catch that when I scanned through it. Oddly enough none of the installers I've spoken with have even mentioned the 50% bit. Definitely something to keep a look out for. Even the person I spoke to at the office managing the SGIP funds said no problem, you'll get the $4,060 per Powerall (up to 2) and the 30% ITC.

    I'm also not getting the prices I see a lot of others quote. Quotes for 1 Powerwall range from $10k-$13k and 2 of them is more or less double the cost, nowhere near just the "extra $5,500 cost of the Powerwall". The more I look in to this the more it's turning me off. This seemed like it was to good to be true and using quotes I have seen here and on Tesla Forums the payback was like 2-3 years but based on the prices I've been getting it's 5-10 and if this 50% were to actually come in to play it'd add probably another 2-3 years on top of that. Not even factoring in interest or whatever.

    I left a message with my local SGIP office (for lack of a better word) and will mention this to them if I speak to them and see what they say.

    Thanks for pointing this out.
     
  15. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    The only reasonable quote I got for Powerwall installation was from Tesla Energy. Everyone else was charging the rates you mention. So I am taking a chance on the SGIP and going with them since they are charging so much less.

    I suppose if you are a brave soul, you could have TE do the install and apply for the SGIP as a homeowner avoiding Teslas developer cap.


    Post any info you get from the SGIP folks, I will be interested to hear what they say.
     
  16. SoundDaTrumpet

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    #16 SoundDaTrumpet, Sep 26, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    When I developed my Preliminary Monitoring Plan, the PMP checklist used as my outline to write it (provided as a resource by SGIP), it is clear that to the best interests of the system owner they want you to be able to record the generation for solar for the purposes of remaining qualified for the Federal Incentive Tax Credit (the 30%). [You can't take the Fed Tax Credit unless you can prove (with data) you are charging it with green energy.] In other words SGIP documentation other than the handbook also supports "double dipping." Also there is a 2016 US Code (tax code) saying stating that funds from government entities (i.e. public utilities) for energy management (i.e. peak shaving, load reduction) equipment (i.e. batteries) does not reduce the federal incentive. The NREL document stated above support it as well. If anyone can find the wind farmer precedence letter, it'll be good to post and share. This way there's less explanation with the tax accountant in the future.

    I hope to bury the hatchet on this topic because there is supposedly legislation out there that is suppose to clarify this.
     
  17. idleuser

    idleuser Member

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    This is what I heard from Swell Energy. I had concerns about double dipping but apparently you could take both the SPIG and 30% at the same time. See attachment.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    Maybe I am missing something, but that attachment doesn't address the SGIP at all.

    Legislation on the state side or the federal?


    I wonder how long I have to charge the batteries from solar to stay on the right side of the Federal ITC? The full 10 year life of the Powerwalls? If that is the case, then I guess I don't care about the TOU load shifting firmware update.
     
  19. DeJa

    DeJa Member

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    Based on what I read 5 years. I do really wonder though if anyone would ever get audited for it and let's say in year 3 you only had 77%, are you seriously going to edit your taxes? I know there is a "what would you really do" and "what is the actual law" but hopefully it'd just stay at 80% or more those 5 years and you wouldn't have to worry about it!
     
  20. DeJa

    DeJa Member

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    Just heard back from the SGIP contact. He said that the ITC and the SGIP rebate essentially are for the most part mutually exclusive. You will get the full SGIP and ITC as long as the total of those two aren't in excess of the project cost.

    IOW if the total install cost is $10,000 for 1 Powerwall you would get $3,000 ITC and $4,060 SGIP totalling $7,060.

    You'd have to somehow get a crazy deal to trigger this. Say you somehow were able to get 1 Powerwall installed for $5,000. The SGIP of $4,060 and the ITC of $1,500 would be $5,560 so they'd knock the SGIP rebate down $560.

    Maybe back under Step 1 you could run in to this (with the Tesla Energy quotes) but with the rebate at $4,060 (at least for me) I don't see realistically how you would ever run in to this issue. Especially given the quotes I've been getting.

    Tesla Energy definitely seems like they're cheaper but you run the risk (to me it seems like a great risk) of not getting the SGIP rebate as basically they require you to install it and hope you get it. Likely because their backlog covers the 20% max rule of the SGIP rebate their guaranteed. Other installers don't seem to have such a back log yet so they can put in writing that you'll get it or you can cancel the contract and not to the install. I suspect this is why TE is basically saying you're not going to get the SGIP rebate if you install through them.

    3.2.7 Developer Cap
    Any single Developer is limited to 20% of the SGIP incentive funding for a given budget category in each
    statewide incentive step. Applicants may not submit applications for Developers in excess of the statewide
    Developer cap for the active step, and Program Administrators shall not issue conditional reservations to
    projects by a Developer that has already applied for reservations in a given step that exceed 20%.


    Just to point it out again say Tesla is going to install 2 Powerwalls for $13,000 (which is probably lower than it will actually cost). If you get the ITC and the SGIP rebate it will have a net cost of $980 (haha, I know). Say you don't get the SGIP rebate, it'll cost you $9,100. Now, if you go with another installer for 2 and take their quote of $20,000 once you deduct the $6,000 ITC and $8,120 SGIP rebate your net cost is $5,880.

    It's really just whether you're a gambling man I suppose. Do you want to run the risk of paying $3,200 more than you would otherwise in the hopes of paying $5,000 less? Obviously risk is worth something and the non-Tesla installers know it which is why I suspect their prices are so much more. They're basically doubling the price ($10k-$12k) for the extra Powerwall (that supposedly costs $5,500) when there is no real additional design or permit work required and minimal additional install and shipping costs. Heck, they don't even have to spend the time installing an isolated load panel so that is some less work they have to do!! If they were charging an additional $6-7k or so for the 2nd that would seem more reasonable than $10k-$12k. Nice profit margin on the 2nd Powerwall for sure!

    Whatever you decide to go with good luck. I sincerely hope you get the SGIP rebate!
     
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