Note: The CSI-Thermal Program closed to new applications on July 31, 2020. Applicants with projects that have received a confirmed reservation are still able to complete their projects and submit their Incentive Claim within their 18-month reservation window. For any questions, please contact your CSI-Thermal Program Administrator.
AB 1470 of 2007 authorized the creation of a $350 million incentive program for solar water heating systems. Of the $350 million in total funding, $25 million is reserved for low-income incentives, $225 million is for systems that will displace natural gas water heaters, and $100 million is set aside for systems replacing electric water heaters. Before developing the program, however, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had to wait for results from a pilot solar water heating program administered by the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) in the San Diego area. After reviewing the positive results of the pilot program, the CPUC developed rules for the statewide program and the program administrators began accepting applications retroactively on May 1, 2010 for single-family residential systems installed after July 15, 2009. Rebate applications for multifamily residential and commercial customers have been accepted since June 2010. CPUC Decision 12-08-008 of August 2012 established separate incentive rates for single-family residential systems and commercial/multifamily systems, each significantly higher than the rates previously available.
Originally restricted to just solar water heaters, the prorgam was expanded by CPUC Decision 13-02-018 in February 2013 to include other solar thermal technologies, including solar process heating, solar cooling, and non-residential solar pool heating.
The program is being administered by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), Southern California Gas Company (SCGC) and CSE on behalf of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). There are different incentive levels depending on whether the solar water heating system displaces electricity, natural gas, or propane. Incentives for systems with a capacity of 250 kW-thermal or less will be paid upfront based on the OG-300 estimated first year energy savings. Larger systems will receive 70 percent of the incentive upfront, with the remaining 30 percent paid after 12 consecutive months, based on actual metered energy savings. Note, CPUC Decision 13-02-018 replaced the 70/30 split with a performance-based incentive which will make quarterly payments for a 2-year period based on metered energy output. This change will not take effect, however, until the new CSI Thermal Handbook is approved.
Similar to the PV incentives offered through the California Solar Initiative, the incentives offered through this program will step down four times as installation milestones are met. Steps will decline separately in each service territory and for the four general customer classes.
Interested customers should contact the appropriate program administrator:
Pacific Gas and Electric:
Phone: (877) 743-4112
Center for Sustainable Energy (SDG&E territory):
Phone: (858) 244-1177
Southern California Gas Company:
Phone: (800) Gas-2000
Southern California Edison:
Phone: (800) 799-4177
|Incentive Type:||Rebate Program|
|Administrator:||SCE, CSE, PG&E, SCGC|
|Start Date:||incentives are available retroactively for systems installed after 7/15/09|
|Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:||Solar Water Heat,Solar Space Heat,Solar Thermal Process Heat,Solar Pool Heating|
Step 1 Incentive Rates (contact utility to determine current incentive levels):
Single Family Residential Incentives:
Systems that displace natural gas: $29.85 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: Funding has been exhausted
Systems that displace natural gas: $20.19 per estimated therm displaced
Systems that displace electricity or propane: $0.42 per estimated kWh displaced *** Note, funding has been exhausted in this category for SCE and PG&E
Solar Pool heating: $5.00 per estimated therm displaced
Step 1 Incentive Limits (contact utility to determine current incentive limits):
Single-family residential systems that displace natural gas: $4,366
Single-family residential systems that displace electricity or propane: $1,834
Commercial and multifamily residential systems that displace natural gas: $800,000
Commercial and multifamily residential systems that displace electricity or propane: $250,000
Solar Pool Heating: 50% of total project costs, up to $500,000
Residential systems must be certified to SRCC OG-300 by either SRCC or International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)
Solar collectors used in eligible commercial systems must be certified to SRCC OG-100 by either SRCC or IAPMO
Only non-residential solar pool heaters are eligible.
Systems must be installed by an appropriately licensed contractor who is listed as being eligible to participate in the program.
Self-installations are permitted if the building owner attends a designated CSI-Thermal Program training workshop.
|Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:||Remain with customer|
|Technologies:||Solar Water Heat|
|Parameters:||The incentive is 29.85 $/therm displaced, The incentive has a minimum of $4366.00|
|Technologies:||Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Process Heat|
|Sectors:||Commercial, Industrial, Local Government, Nonprofit, Schools, State Government, Federal Government, Multifamily Residential|
|Parameters:||The incentive is 20.19 $/therm displaced, The incentive has a minimum of $800000.00|
|Technologies:||Solar Pool Heating|
|Sectors:||Commercial, Local Government, Nonprofit, Schools, State Government, Federal Government, Multifamily Residential|
|Parameters:||The incentive is 5.00 $/therm displaced, The incentive has a minimum of 50.00 % of cost, The incentive has a minimum of $500000.00|
|Name:||CA Public Utilities Code § 2860, et seq.|
|Name:||CSI Thermal Handbook|
|Effective Date:||February 2015|
This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.
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