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

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Last modified on September 16, 2009.

Financial Incentive Program

Place California

Incentive Source

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. About DSIRE Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency accessed September 9, 2009