Learn contractor basics for solar water heating
Save energy for your customers
Learn the basics for installing a solar water heating system for PG&E customers and applying for the California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal Program. You also can learn how to help your customers become more energy-efficient.
We offer incentives to customers who install solar thermal systems for residential and commercial properties that use natural gas to heat water. Learn more about these incentives by attending a CSI-Thermal Program workshop.
Help your customers prepare their homes or businesses
Before installing any renewable energy system, encourage your customers to take advantage of a PG&E energy-efficiency audit to get important details about their current energy use. Get started at the following websites:
- Residential customers can get a customized list of changes to make to boost home energy efficiency, along with savings estimates. Visit Home Energy Checkup.
- Business customers can get customized recommendations to lower operating costs, including financial incentives to implement energy-saving solutions. Visit Business Energy Checkup.
As a contractor, you can recommend ways to reduce hot water use. Solutions include energy-efficient washers and dishwashers, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. You also can work with your customers to understand their hot water-usage needs and recommend the right system size.
Know the steps and timeline
Following are steps and timelines for contractors who are installing solar water heating systems:
- To participate in the CSI-Thermal Program, you must attend our one-day solar water heating workshop. The instruction includes all aspects of the incentive program, such as tips for filling out the application. We add your name to the list of eligible contractors, and you receive access to the CSI-Thermal database used to submit applications.
Learn more about the CSI-Thermal (Solar Water Heating) Program. Visit PG&E Energy Education Classes.
- Design a system to meet your customer’s hot water use needs. Take into account any recent or planned energy-efficiency measures.
Multi-family and commercial projects require an additional step in the application process. You must first reserve funding through the Rebate Reservation Form of the application before solar water heating systems are installed.
- Install the system according to local jurisdiction building codes, get all the necessary permits and use approved equipment.*
Residential installations can take a few days to a few weeks. Commercial installations can take a couple of months. The timeline depends on unique property or system conditions. Our application processing can take up to three weeks.
*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). OG-300-certified equipment must be installed on single-family homes, and OG-100-certified collectors must be installed on multifamily and commercial buildings.
- Submit your incentive application and all required documents to us through the CSI-Thermal database after the project is installed and passes local building inspection. Visit California Solar Initiative Thermal Program.
- Our engineers perform an on-site inspection for your first three completed installations. The inspection can take one to two weeks to schedule, and you must be present for the inspection.
- When our inspection is complete and all required documentation is approved, we issue the incentive payment.
Learn from case studies
These case studies highlight solar water heating projects for different types of businesses: