The CSI-Thermal program provides rebates to utility customers who install solar thermal systems to replace water-heating systems powered by electricity or natural gas.
On January 29, 2015, the CPUC approved a decision to increase incentive levels, revise sub-program budgets, and establish individual project rebate caps.
In July 2009 Energy Division issued a Staff Report on a Solar Water Heating program and invited comments.
On January 21, 2010, the CPUC approved a Decision creating the CSI-Thermal Program, which allocates $350.8 million to promote solar water heating (SWH) through a program of direct financial incentives to retail customers, training for installers and building inspectors, and a statewide marketing campaign. (Although SWH is the focus of the program, some non-water heating technologies also qualify.) Incentives are available to customers who currently heat their water with electricity or natural gas in the service territories of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Gas Company.
Single family SWH systems that displace natural gas will initially qualify for incentives of up to $2,719, while electricity-displacing systems will qualify for incentives of up to $1,834. Actual incentive amounts will be based on the expected performance of the system as predicted by the SRCC rating and positioning. Incentive levels will decline in four steps as the program meets certain installation benchmarks.
Customers will be able to apply for incentives through their local program administrator, which in most cases will be the utility that supplies the natural gas or electricity currently used to heat the customer's water. The one exception is that the California Center for Sustainable Energy will serve as program administrator for customers of San Diego Gas & Electric. Form more information about the availability of incentives in your area, contact your local CSI-Thermal Program Administrator.
Relying on clean, renewable power generation is a high priority for the CPUC and the State of California. For more information on the CPUC's clean energy efforts, see our Renewables page.