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

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Last modified on December 8, 2009.

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)
Active Incentive Yes

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

Expiration Date 12/31/2009, or until the budget is exhausted
Funding Source Rate-payer funded
Incentive Amount Residential/small commercial: 1,500, adjusted based on expected performance;

Larger commercial: 15/sq ft for open-loop systems; 20/sq ft for closed-loop systems

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.

Maximum Incentive Residential/small commercial: 1,500

Larger commercial: 75,000

Program Budget 2.6 million total, 1.5 million for incentives
Project ReviewCertification CCSE will inspect 100% of the systems installed

CCSE will meter and monitor the performance of at least 100 systems at the utility's expense.


References DSIRE[1]

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

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

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


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 & 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.


  1. DSIRE Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency accessed 2009-12-08