Learn About Rebates

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With the help of the California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal Program, rebates have recently increased and solar water heating (SWH) is now more affordable than ever. Rebate amounts are based on the amount of energy your SWH system is expected to displace over the course of one year.

Once your system has been installed and the final building permit has been signed, your contractor will apply for the rebate for you.

Maximum rebate for homeowners

(Natural gas customers)

Who will receive the rebate?

Once you choose a contractor, make sure to determine who will receive the rebate check: the homeowner or the contractor? There are two options.

conserve energy

1) The homeowner may choose to pay the contractor’s fees in full, up front, in which case, the CSI-Thermal rebate check will be sent to the homeowner.

reduce greenhouse gases

2) The homeowner may pay the contractor the cost of the solar water heater installation minus the expected rebate; the rebate check will then be sent to the contractor as final payment. CSE recommends this option.


Don't forget to claim the federal renewable energy tax credit

In addition to rebates offered through the CSI-Thermal Program, you may also be able to claim a federal solar tax credit for up to 30% of the cost of your new solar system, including both equipment and installation. Combined with the CSI-Thermal rebate, this can make a huge difference in how much solar water heating will cost for your home.

For questions regarding the federal tax credit, you should speak with your tax professional.

Sample Residential System Cost

Average Cost of a Residential Solar Water Heating System $7,300
Less Average CSI-Thermal Natural Gas Rebate -3,300
  SUBTOTAL $4,000
30% Federal Tax Credit ($4,000 x 30%) -1,200



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