Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can use solar thermal?
  2. Are solar pool water heating systems eligible to receive a rebate?
  3. What end uses of solar heated water are eligible for a CSI-Thermal rebate?
  4. Are financing options available for installing a multifamily system?
  5. What are the tax implications of installing a solar thermal system on my property?
  6. How do I claim my rebate?
  7. How much does a typical solar thermal system cost?
  8. How are the rebates calculated?

 

  1. Who can use solar thermal?

    Solar thermal systems work well for multifamily housing where both the building owner and the tenants benefit from clean energy. Due to economies of scale, solar thermal technology is especially effective for complexes with a central boiler unit responsible for providing hot water to all tenants. Efficient operation of the solar thermal system drastically reduces the workload of the boiler, saving gas and money for the landlord. If laundry facilities are provided on site, solar thermal systems can also help to reduce associated energy costs.
     
  2. Are solar pool water heating systems eligible to receive a rebate?

    Pool systems installed for commercial, multifamily, government, nonprofit or institutional properties are eligible for rebates. The customer must receive natural gas service to the property where the system will be installed to receive a rebate. Solar pool systems for single-family residences are not eligible for the California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal rebate.
     
  3. What end uses of solar heated water are eligible for a CSI-Thermal rebate?

    Multifamily properties can receive a rebate for eligible solar thermal systems for the following end uses:
    • Solar water heating (direct use of solar heated water)
    • Solar cooling
    • Process heat
    • Space heating
    • Combination systems
       
  4. Are financing options available for installing a multifamily system?

    Yes. Solar financing is available in a variety of forms for landlords and property managers. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans, local energy loan programs, and third party ownership agreements are among the options available.

    To learn more about programs available in your area please check out our Finance Database and PACE Map.
     
  5. What are the tax implications of installing a solar thermal system on my property?

    Properties installing solar thermal systems are eligible for the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit. This allows you to claim 30% of eligible system costs against your federal taxes in the year of installation. In addition, businesses may be eligible to take advantage of corporate depreciation in the form of a Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System. We recommend talking to a tax professional so that you may take advantage of the full range of tax incentive available for this technology.
     
  6. How do I claim my rebate?

    The contractor who installs your system will apply for the CSI-Thermal rebate on your behalf. You can have the rebate sent directly to you, or have the contractor take the rebate and give you the discount up front. As the host customer, you will be copied on all program correspondence and you may contact your local program administrator if you have questions at any point in the process.
     
  7. How much does a typical solar thermal system cost?

    The cost of a solar thermal system varies depending on technology used and roof space available. Typical domestic hot water systems for commercial and multifamily customers in San Diego cost on average $134 per square foot of collector installed. This information is helpful when reviewing bids from different contractors and comparing different sized systems.
     
  8. How are the rebates calculated?

    Rebates are calculated based on the expected energy savings that a system will provide. The CSI Thermal Calculator will calculate the estimated therms or kilowatt hours that a system is expected to offset for one year. That number will then be multiplied by the current incentive rate of $20.19 per therm or $.42 per kWh. 

    Example: Estimated annual energy savings for finished system = 1100 therms/year. 
    Current Incentive Level = $20.19 per therm.
    Incentive from the CSI Thermal Program = 1100 therms x $20.19 = $22,209