Swell Tribal Battery Rebate Program for California Tribes

The State of California recently launched a new rebate program that will pay for up to 100% of the cost of new energy storage systems (i.e. Tesla Battery) for eligible homes, buildings, and facilities (including government, commercial, and industrial) on federally-recognized Indian Lands in California. These energy systems protect against power outages such as Public Safety Shutoff Events (PSPS). They can also save money on electricity bills by reducing demand charges and shifting grid power usage to lower cost periods.

Prosper Sustainably has partnered with Swell Energy to install as many no-cost energy storage systems as possible on California Tribal Lands before the rebate budget runs out. Swell is a certified Tesla installer and a leading home battery installer with over 850 installations in California. Swell also has a rapidly growing commercial & industrial (C&I) division, primarily installing Tesla Powerpacks.

The new State rebate program launched in the beginning of May 2020, and based on initial trends, the rebate funding is expected to run out quickly. Therefore, it is recommended that interested communities submit applications with Swell (or any eligible battery vendor) as soon as possible. Prosper and Swell have already worked with the Pala Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, and San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians in submitting over 100 applications for $6,000,000+ in rebates for tribal homes, businesses, and government buildings and facilities.

Eligible homes include those with well pumps (no income limit), GRID Alternatives solar PV systems (no income limit), medical equipment (no income limit), or households meeting certain income requirements. Eligible government and business facilities include police stations; fire stations; emergency response providers (fire, law, medical, public safety, etc.); emergency operations centers; 911 call centers; medical facilities; nursing homes; blood banks; health care facilities; gas, electric, water, wastewater, or flood control facilities; jails and prisons; IOU designated PSPS assistance centers; cooling centers; homeless shelters; grocery and corner stores; markets and supermarkets; foodbanks; independent living centers; etc. These battery systems will provide backup power and, in most cases, also offer energy cost savings. The batteries can also be paired with solar or existing backup generators.

As of early July 2020, the income rebate eligibility limits for residential projects on California Tribal Lands has not been finalized. Prosper Sustainably supported Pala, Rincon, and San Pasqual in partnering with the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) and GRID Alternatives in advocating that the CPUC adopt 80% of area median income (AMI) limits versus 200% of federal poverty as the limit. To view the letter submitted by CALSSA and the tribes in response to a recent CPUC proposed decision to establish income limits on tribal lands, click here. To view the letter submitted by GRID as part of these same proceedings, click here.

Prosper and Swell hosted a webinar on June 18, 2020 describing the SGIP rebate opportunities on tribal lands with a representative from Pala. A recording of the webinar can be found below. To download the webinar slides, click here.

June 18, 2020 Webinar: SGIP Energy Storage Rebate Opportunities on Tribal Lands in California

To learn more or pursue a rebate with Swell, please visit www.swellenergy.com/tribal. If you are interested in pursuing a rebate for one or more tribal government/business buildings or facilities, you can also contact Mark Tholke at mtholke@swellenergy.com / (925) 548-8826. If you are interested in pursuing a rebate for one or more homes on tribal lands, you can also contact Godfrey Chrenko at gchrenko@swellenergy.com / (310) 734-1465. If you are interested in setting up a community wide program, please contact Shawn Jacobson at shawn@swellenergy.com / (805) 804-7965. You may also contact Josh Simmons (serving as Swell’s Tribal Liaison) at jsimmons@prospersustainably.com / (805) 694-8089 for support at any time.

The following links and resources provide more information about the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) rebate for homes, buildings, and facilities on California Tribal Lands: