Property Owner’s Frequently Asked Questions
- What rebates are available for installing solar water heating?
- A new California solar water heating rebate program, called CSI-Thermal, began accepting applications for single-family projects on May 1, 2010 and multi-family & commercial applications on October 8, 2010. The CSI-Thermal program is expected to run through December 31, 2017 or until the incentive money runs out. It is administered by PG&E, SoCalGas, SoCal Edison, and CCSE in the SDG&E territory. The official CSI-Thermal Program website is www.csithermal.com.
- A 30 percent federal tax credit is also available on the installed cost of the system less the rebates.
- Who is eligible for this new CSI-Thermal Program?
Eligible customers are gas or electric water heating customers of SDG&E, PG&E and SoCalGas & SoCal Edison.
- What if I am not an electric or gas customer of the above investor owned utilities (IOUs)?
Unfortunately you are not eligible for the rebate under the CSI-Thermal Program. However, you should check with your electric and gas providers to find out if they offer any solar water heating rebates. You may qualify for the 30% federal tax credit if you install qualifying equipment.
- Am I eligible if I heat my water with propane?
Yes, propane users that are electric customers of SDG&E, SoCal Edison, or PG&E are eligible for the CSI-Thermal program rebate.
- What are the incentive amounts?
- The CSI-Thermal rebate program is a four-step declining incentive structure over the life of the program and the rebate is calculated based on the expected energy savings of your solar water heating system. Incentive amounts depend upon your current water heating fuel source (natural gas, electricity, or propane). Residents who heat their water with natural gas may receive a maximum incentive of $1,875. Residents who heat their water with electricity may receive a maximum incentive of $1,263. Commercial or multifamily buildings that heat their water with natural gas may receive a maximum incentive of $500,000, while commercial or multifamily buildings that heat their water with electricity may receive a maximum incentive of $250,000. Visit www.csithermal.com to access the incentive calculator.
- How do I find a contractor?
You may find an eligible contractor at the www.csithermal.com. It is a requirement that you use a CSI-Thermal eligible contractor in order to be eligible for a rebate. It is highly suggested that you get at least 3 bids from contractors before you chose a contractor.
- How can I learn more?
Contractor’s & Self-Installer's Frequently Asked Questions
What equipment is eligible to receive a rebate through the CSI-Thermal Program? Solar water heating ( SWH) equipment must be certified by OG-300 and OG-100 standards. OG-300 certified equipment must be installed on single-family homes and OG-100 certified collectors must be installed on multifamily and commercial buildings. At the start of the program, only solar water heating technology is eligible for the rebate. Other Solar Thermal technologies such as space heating, radiant floor heating, space cooling, and process heat is expected to become eligible technologies in late 2012.
What are the contractor and self-installer participation requirements? Contractors must be licensed by the State of California Contractors State License Board ( CSLB) and have an active A (Engineer), B (General), C-4 (Boiler, Hot Water Heating and Steam Fitting), C-36 (Plumbing) or C-46 (Solar) contractor's license to participate in the CSI-Thermal Program. The business owner, whose name is on the CSLB license, must attend a one-day training workshop to learn about the application process and program requirements, both administrative and technical. Self-Installers are also required to attend the one-day workshop training, and may only apply for a rebate when installing a system on a property they own.
What is the application process for the rebate? Contractors will be responsible for submitting the rebate applications. Applications will be submitted online, through a web-based application database found at www.csithermal.com. Contractors must first attend the one-day workshop mentioned above, in order to gain access to the database. The process for single-family residential projects will be one-step, meaning the incentive application will be submitted after the the project has been installed. Multifamily and commercial projects will have a two and three step process (depending on system size), where the the incentive will be reserved prior to installation and then paid after the project has been installed. The CSI-Thermal Program will provide a rebate to projects that meet the program requirements and were installed after July 15, 2009.
- What can I do to prepare my installation team? We have some great technical resources posted in our “Contractors Corner.” We recommend you become very familiar with the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation installation guidelines (www.solar-rating.org). It is also strongly encouraged for you to seek training from SWH equipment manufacturers.
How do I estimate the incentives? Incentive calculators are available online at www.csithermal.com to assist you with providing an accurate incentive quote to your customers. They are also imbedded in to the application form, for your convenience when submitting an application.