Contractors: What Do You Need to Know?

Become an Eligible Contractor


In order to be added to the Eligible Contractor list for the CSI-Thermal program, you must attend a one-day CSI Thermal (Solar Water Heating) Program Workshop training workshop to learn about the application process and CSI-Thermal Program requirements. When you have completed the workshop, the instructor will provide you with a passcode which you can use to register on the CSI-Thermal site and submit rebate applications for your customers.

Please note, all contractors must have an active A, B, C-4, C-36 or C-46 contractor's license and be in accordance with all Contractor State License Board (CSLB) rules and regulations. For more information regarding California licensing requirements please visit the Contractors State License Board website.

Your Role in the Process

As an eligible contractor, your customers will rely on you to be a source of information about the system, the installation process and the energy efficiency of their home. When you meet with a potential customer, check to make sure they have completed their Energy Efficiency audit. If not, you can help them understand how reducing their overall energy consumption is good for the environment and can help them save money in the long run. You should also review different technology options with them that will be well suited for their home or business and meet their Solar Water Heating needs.

Customer Eligibility

To qualify for the CSI-Thermal program, customers must heat their water with gas or electricity provided by PG&E, SDG&E, SCE or SoCal Gas. Customers who heat their water using propane must be electric customers of PG&E, SDG&E, or SCE. Complete program guidelines can be found in the CSI-Thermal Program Handbook.

Equipment

In order to be eligible for the CSI-Thermal Program, solar water heating equipment must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) or the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). For single family homes, equipment with an SRCC OG-300 rating must be installed. For commercial or multi-family buildings, equipment with an SRCC OG-100 rating must be installed.

Rebate and Application Information

As the contractor, you are responsible for submitting the rebate application for your customer. CSI-Thermal rebate amounts are based on the customer’s system type, class (e.g., residential or commercial) and water-heating fuel source (e.g., gas or electric). Rebates are highest in the early part of the program and decrease as more applications are received. Learn more about the rebate structure and current rebate levels.

Rebate applications must be submitted online at www.csithermal.com. The rebate application for a single-family home should be submitted after the installation is complete. For commercial or multi-family buildings, all paperwork—including the application to reserve rebate funds—should be submitted to PG&E before you begin the installation process. When the installation is complete, you may request the rebate payment for the finished product.

How to Apply for the CSI-Thermal Incentives

In order to apply for CSI-Thermal Incentives, you must:

  1. Attend the mandatory CSI-Thermal Program workshop for contractors and self installers. A registration key will be distributed upon completion of the CSI-Thermal Program workshop.
  2. Go to the CSI-Thermal Program application database.
  3. Register as a contractor or self-installer using your unique "key", if you are a first-time user.
  4. Complete each section of the application and review for accuracy.
  5. Attach PDFs of required documents, if available, or send via U.S. mail.
  6. Submit your completed application.
  7. Print a copy for your records.
  8. If required documents were not attached, submit via mail to the appropriate program administrator.

Processes vary slightly base on customer type. Click on the appropriate customer type below for more information

Single-family Residential Application Process

The CSI-Thermal program has a one-step application process for all single-family residential solar water heating systems.

Step 1: Incentive Claim Documents

Once installation is complete and the system has received the final signed-off permit from the local building jurisdiction, gather all required documents and submit them for review.

Expand the areas below for more information and links to documents.

  • Incentive Claim Form with signatures

    The Incentive Claim Forms will be available for printing after the application is completed at www.csithermal.com.
  • Documentation of Energy Efficiency Audit

    All customers are required to have an energy efficiency audit conducted. Customers will be responsible for submitting a copy of a completed energy efficiency audit to the Utility Program Administrator with their solar incentive application. A customer can, however, be exempt from an audit if documentation is provided which shows that an energy efficiency audit was completed within the past 36 months or the facility is Title 24 compliant within the past 3 years.
  • Copy of Executed Agreement of Solar Water Heating System Purchase and Installation

    All Applicants must submit a copy of an executed agreement to purchase and install the eligible solar water heating system at the time of submitting the Incentive Claim Form. This agreement must be legally binding and clearly spell out the scope of work, terms, price, and SWH system components to be installed.
  • Executed Alternative System Ownership Agreement

    If the System Owner is not the Utility Customer of Record, applicant must submit a copy of Executed Alternative System Ownership agreement with the Reservation Request Form.
  • Final Signed-off Permit

    Issued from the local building jurisdiction. The application must be submitted within 24 months of the sign-off date.
  • Stagnation Protection Method Documentation*

    If a stagnation protection method other than those listed in Section 6.2 of the CSI-Thermal Handbook is used, documentation describing how the system is protected against stagnation must be submitted to the Program Administrator.

* Item is only required if the project meets the criteria in the description.

Multi-family/Commercial ≤ 30kWh Application Process

All multi-family and commercial solar water heating systems with a capacity of 30kWh (462 square feet of fluid collector area) or less require a two-step application process.

Step 1: Reservation Request Documents

Reserve your funding prior to installation by submitting the Reservation Request Form (RRF) and all required documents. A confirmed reservation will be issued.

Gather and complete all required documents as outlined below.

  • Reservation Request Form with signatures
    The Reservation Request Form will be available for printing after the application is completed at www.csithermal.com.
  • Documentation of Energy Efficiency Audit
    All customers are required to have an energy efficiency audit conducted. Customers will be responsible for submitting a copy of a completed energy efficiency audit to the Utility Program Administrator with their solar incentive application. A customer can, however, be exempt from an audit if documentation is provided which shows that an energy efficiency audit was completed within the past 36 months or the facility is Title 24 compliant within the past 3 years.
  • Copy of Executed Agreement of Solar Water Heating System Purchase and Installation
    All Applicants must submit a copy of an executed agreement to purchase and install the eligible solar water heating system at the time of submitting the Reservation Request Document. This agreement must be legally binding and clearly spell out the scope of work, terms, price, and SWH system components to be installed.
  • Executed Alternative System Ownership Agreement*
    If the System Owner is not the Host Customer, applicant must submit a copy of Executed Alternative System Ownership agreement with the Reservation Request Form.
  • Gallons Per Day (GPD) Justification*
    For multi–family/commercial systems, a GPD justification document is required if the building type is not on the Maximum GPD Guideline table, see Appendix D in the CSI-Thermal Handbook.

    In this case, the project will be sized based on 60 days of metered hot water consumption or gas and electric consumption. GPD justification documentation must be stamped by a P.E. and, at a minimum, include the metering method used (in–line flow meter or gas/electric meter), meter start date and end date (minimum of 60 days required), cumulative GPD value of metering period, and seasonal variability calculations resulting in an annual average GPD used for system sizing.
  • Stagnation Protection Method Documentation*
    If a stagnation protection method other than those listed in Section 6.2 of the CSI-Thermal Handbook is used, documentation describing how the system is protected against stagnation must be submitted to the Program Administrator.

Step 2: Incentive Claim Documents

Once installation is complete and the system has received the final signed-off permit from the local building jurisdiction, gather all required documents and submit them for review. Review the instructions below which take you through completing an application. This must be submitted within 18 months of the confirmed reservation date.

Gather and complete all required documents. Expand the areas below for more information and links to documents.

  • Incentive Claim Form with signatures

    The Incentive Form will be available for printing after the application is completed at www.csithermal.com.
  • Final Signed-off Permit

    Issued from the local building jurisdiction. The application must be submitted within 24 months of the sign-off date.

* Item is only required if the project meets the criteria in the description.

Multi-family/Commercial Systems > 30kWh Application Process

The CSI-Thermal program has a three-step application process for all multi-family and commercial solar water heating systems with a capacity greater than 30kWh.

Step 1: Reservation Request Documents

Reserve your funding prior to installation by submitting the Reservation Request Form (RRF) and all required documents including the application fee. Conditional reservation will be issued.

Gather and complete all required documents as outlined below.

  • Reservation Request Form with signatures
    The Reservation Request Form will be available for printing after the application is completed at www.csithermal.com.
  • Documentation of Energy Efficiency Audit
    All customers are required to have an energy efficiency audit conducted. Customers will be responsible for submitting a copy of a completed energy efficiency audit to the Utility Program Administrator with their solar incentive application. A customer can, however, be exempt from an audit if documentation is provided which shows that an energy efficiency audit was completed within the past 36 months or the facility is Title 24 compliant within the past 3 years.
  • Application Fee
    Applicants are required to submit an application fee for systems with a capacity greater 30 kWth. Applicants should send the application fee to the Program Administrator, via U.S. mail or overnight mail, at the same time they submit the RRF. The Applicant has 30 calendar days from the day the Program Administrator receives the complete RRF packet to submit the application fee to secure a conditional reservation. The application fee is based on the system capacity.
  • GPD Justification*
    For multi–family/commercial systems, a GPD justification document is required if the building type is not on the Maximum GPD Guideline Table, see Appendix D in the CSI-Thermal Handbook.

    In this case, the project will be sized based on 60 days of metered hot water consumption or gas and electric consumption. GPD justification documentation must be stamped by a Professional Engineer and, at a minimum, include the metering method used (in-line flow meter or gas/electric meter), meter start date and end date (minimum of 60 days required), cumulative GPD value of metering period, and seasonal variability calculations resulting in an annual average GPD used for system sizing.
  • Stagnation Protection Method Documentation*
    If a stagnation protection method other than those listed in Section 6.2 of the CSI-Thermal Handbook is used, documentation describing how the system is protected against stagnation must be submitted to the Program Administrator.

Step 2: Proof of Project Milestone Documents

Submit the executed installation and sales contract within 60 days (90 days for government/non–profit entities) of the conditional reservation.

Gather and complete all required documents. Expand the areas below for more information and links to documents.

  • Copy of Executed Agreement of Solar Water Heating System Purchase and Installation
    All Applicants must submit a copy of an executed agreement to purchase and install the eligible solar water heating system at the time of submitting the second step of a three-step process. This agreement must be legally binding and clearly spell out the scope of work, terms, price, and SWH system components to be installed.
  • Executed Alternative System Ownership Agreement*
    If the System Owner is not the Host Customer, applicant must submit a copy of Executed Alternative System Ownership agreement with the Reservation Request Form.

Step 3: Incentive Claim Documents

Once installation is complete and the system has received the final signed-off permit from the local building jurisdiction, gather all required documents and submit them for review. Review the instructions below which take you through completing an application. This must be submitted within 18 months of the Conditional Reservation date.

Gather and complete all required documents. Expand the areas below for more information and links to documents.

  • Incentive Claim Form with signatures
    The Incentive Claim Form will be available for printing after the application is completed at www.csithermal.com.
  • Final Signed-off Permit
    Issued from the local building jurisdiction. The application must be submitted within 24 months of the sign-off date.

* Item is only required if the project meets the criteria in the description.

Submitting the Application Forms

There are two ways to submit a new CSI-Thermal application:

  1. Electronically at www.csithermal.com in the online application management database/tool
  2. US Mail by sending to:

    Mailing Address
    PG&E Solar and Customer Generation—CSI-Thermal
    PO Box 7433
    San Francisco, CA 94120

    Street Address (for overnight deliveries)
    PG&E Solar and Customer Generation—CSI-Thermal
    245 Market St., MC N7R
    San Francisco, CA 94105-1797

Field Inspection Process and Checklist

A portion of all CSI-Thermal Program projects are subject to onsite field inspections at our discretion. For each eligible contractor, the Program Administrators will conduct an onsite field inspection for the first three submitted Incentive Claim Forms that displace 250 kWth or less and the first three Incentive Claim Forms that displace more than 250 kWth. Program Administrators will inspect a random sample of projects thereafter.
The CSI-Thermal Program inspection checklist (XLS, 64 KB) is a guide for installers and customers that describe in detail the areas that are examined during a field inspection. This is a very useful tool to ensure that the solar water heating system matches the final documentation submitted for the incentive.

Solar Water Heating Kit

  • This FREE Solar Water Heating Kit provides the tools you need to understand what Solar Water Heating can do for you, what rebates are available and how to
    find a contractor to get started today!

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