California Solar Initiative - Pilot Solar Water Heating Program (California)

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Last modified on February 12, 2015.

Financial Incentive Program

Place California

Name California Solar Initiative - Pilot Solar Water Heating Program
Incentive Type State Rebate Program
Applicable Sector Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Agricultural, Institutional, (must be SDG&E electric customer)
Eligible Technologies Solar Water Heat
Active Incentive No
Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs

Equipment Requirements Residential/Small Commercial: Systems must be SRCC OG300 rated.

Larger projects: Collectors must be SRCC OG100 rated.
All systems must have a minimum of a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty on the solar collector(s), minimum of 1-year and up to 5-years based on manufacturer’s warranty on the individual balance of system components, and 1-year warranty on installation labor and workmanship.
Open-loop recirculation systems must come with a 5 year parts and labor warranty

Start Date 2008-10-10
Expiration Date 12/31/2009, or until the budget is exhausted

Installation Requirements Can be a retrofit project or new construction

Installation contractors must have an active A, B, C-4, C-36 or C-46 license. Self-installers are not required to be licensed, but must attend a one-day training workshop.
Contractors are encouraged to become NABCEP-certified.

Program Administrator Center for Sustainable Energy

References DSIRE[1]


As of December 31, 2009, applications are no longer being accepted for this program. The information presented below is provided for reference purposes. On January 21, 2010, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) gave final approval for a $350 million statewide solar water heating incentive program. The statewide program is expected to begin in April 2010.

In January 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a program – the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – to provide more than $3 billion in incentives for solar projects with the objective of providing 3,000 MW of solar capacity by 2017. Although the CSI primarily funds solar electric (photovoltaics) projects, the CPUC also authorized $2.6 million for a pilot solar water heating program. The budget includes program administration, inspections, performance monitoring, program metering and verification and $1.5 million for incentives.

This program, launched in July 2007, is administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (formerly the San Diego Regional Energy Office) and is available for systems installed on both new and existing residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial buildings owned by electricity customers of San Diego Gas and Electric.

For residential and small commercial systems, the maximum incentive is $1,500 and is based on estimated system performance according to the SRCC OG300 system ratings, solar orientation factors, and other inputs.

For larger commercial systems, the incentive is a function of collector area and will be adjusted based on factors of system type, collector rating, and solar orientation. Collectors must have an SRCC OG100 rating. The system will be metered and one month of successful meter data will be required to demonstrate the system is working properly before payment of incentive is made.

$15/sq ft for open-loop systems $20/sq ft for closed-loop systems Maximum incentive is $75,000.

Note: Pool and spa heating systems are not eligible.

Incentives will be paid to qualified, licensed contractors to be passed through to the customer or directly to owners of self-installed systems. Participating contractors and self-installers must attend a one day workshop to qualify.

Authorities (Please contact the if there are any file problems.)

Authority 1: Solar Water Heating Program Handbook
Date Effective 2008-10-10

Incentive Contact

Contact Name Annie Henderson
Department Center for Sustainable Energy
Address 8690 Balboa Ave, Suite 100
Place San Diego, California
Zip/Postal Code 92123
Phone (877) 333-SWHP


  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"

Rebates Grants Solar Water Heating Incentives

SWH Residential Min Size 60
SWH Residential Size Unit Thm
SWH Commercial Min Size 60
SWH Commercial Size Unit Thm
SWH Residential Max $ $1,500
SWH Commercial Max $ $75,000
SWH Non-profit Max $ $75,000

SWH Commercial $/unit $15.00
SWH Non-profit $/unit $15.00
SWH Size/output Unit sf

  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1.  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"