Learn contractor basics for solar water heating
Contractors can learn the basic process for installing a solar water heating system for PG&E customers and applying for the California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal Program. They can also find out how to help customers become more energy efficient.
Did you know?
PG&E offers incentives for customers installing solar thermal systems for both residential and commercial properties that currently heat water with natural gas. Contractors can attend a CSI-Thermal Program workshop to learn more about the incentive application process.
Help customers prepare their homes or businesses
Before installing any renewable energy system, customers should complete PG&E's energy-efficiency audit to get key information about current energy usage by logging in to My Account:
Contractors can recommend ways to reduce overall hot-water consumption. This may include energy-efficient washers and dishwashers, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Then contractors can work with customers to understand hot-water usage needs and recommend the proper system size.
Steps and timelines every contractor should know
- Step 1: In order to participate in the CSI-Thermal Program, contractors must attend a one-day solar water heating workshop offered by PG&E.
CSI-Thermal (Solar Water Heating) Program: Contractor and Self-Installer Workshop
Contractors will be instructed about all aspects of the incentive program, including tips for filling out the application. They also will be added to the list of eligible contractors and be given access to the CSI-Thermal database used to submit applications.
- Step 2: Contractors should design systems to meet the hot-water usage needs of their customers and be sure to take into account any recent or planned energy-efficiency measures.
Multifamily and commercial projects require an additional step in the application process. Contractors must first reserve funding through the Rebate Reservation Form of the application before solar water heating systems are installed.
- Step 3: Contractors must install the system according to local jurisdiction building codes, obtain all applicable permits and use approved equipment.*
Residential installations generally take a few days to a few weeks, and commercial installations can take a couple of months, depending on the unique conditions of the property or system. PG&E's processing of applications can also 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.
- Step 4: Contractors must submit their incentive application and all required documents to PG&E through the CSI-Thermal database after the project has been installed and has passed local building inspection.
- Step 5: PG&E's engineering team will perform an on-site inspection for the first three installations completed by any contractor. Please note that the inspection may take one to two weeks to schedule, and the contractor must be present at the time of inspection.
- Step 6: Upon completion of the PG&E inspection and approval of the all required documentation, PG&E will issue payment of the incentive.