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CSI – Thermal Program in California: performance-based Incentives decreasing over the Years

Submitted by Baerbel Epp on February 1, 2010
The eight-year programme in California has a budget of USD 351 million and was originally thought to financially assist home owners and proprietors of commercial buildings who replace natural gas or electric geysers with solar water heaters. The 1st of May 2010 was the official starting date of the programme for accepting residential applications. As for multi-family homes and commercial buildings, the kick-off date was the 8st of October 2010. In the meantime the subsidy scheme extended its scope several times
 
Since the March 2012 also multi-family buildings for low-income families are eligible and receive a higher incentive rate. 
 
The level of incentives in the first step was increased by early October 2012 for installations realized after 3 July 2012.
 
The programme was expanded again in February 2013 to include other applications like solar process heating, solar cooling, and non-residential solar pool heating. 
 
The level of incentives was again adapted in January 2015.
 

Country / region

California

Name of programme

California Solar Initiative (CSI) - Thermal Program

Type of incentive

Up-front incentives based on estimated first year therms or kWhel replaced

Eligible technologies

Solar water heating systems, solar process heat systems, commercial solar pool heating systems

Applicable sectors

Home owners, building owners, nonprofit institutions, schools, industries, as well as local, state and federal government institutions who replace their natural gas or propan boiler and electric geyser with a solar thermal system receive incentives paid up-front, based on estimated first year therms or kWhel replaced

Amount

Step 1 Incentive Rates (contact utility to determine current incentive levels):

Single Family Residential Incentives:

  • Systems that displace natural gas: 29.85 USD per estimated therm displaced
  • Systems that displace electricity or propane: Funding has been exhausted

Low Income Single Family Residential Incentives: 

  • Systems that displace natural gas: 36.90 USD per estimated therm displaced

Commercial/Multi-family Incentives:

  • Systems that displace natural gas: 20.19 USD per estimated therm displaced
  • Systems that displace electricity or propane: 0.42 USD per estimated kWh displaced (funding has been exhausted in this category for the utilites SCE and PG&E

Low Income Multi-family Incentives:

  • Systems that displace natural gas: 24.89 USD per estimated therm displaced

Commercial Solar Pool heating:

  • 5.00 USD per estimated therm displaced

 

Maximum level of incentive

Step 1 Incentive Limits (contact utility to determine current incentive limits):

Single Family Residential Incentives:

  • Single-family residential systems that displace natural gas: 4,366 USD

Commercial/Multi-Family Incentives:

  • Commercial and multifamily residential systems that displace natural gas: 800,000 USD
  • Commercial and multifamily residential systems that displace electricity or propane: 250,000 USD

Commercial Solar Pool Heating:

  • 50 % of the total project costs up to USD 500,000

Requirements for system

Single-family homes: SRCC OG-300 or International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)

Multi-family homes / commercial buildings: SRCC OG-300 or IAPMO

System requirements:

  • 10 year warranty on collectors
  • City or county permit
  • Metering systems above 30 kWth (equals to 42 m2)

Requirements for installation

Licensed contractor to be approved by programme administrators.

Finance providers

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)

Total funds

USD 351 million, of which USD 250 million for replacing gas heating systems and USD 101 million for replacing electric systems

Funding source

Monies collected under AB 1470 from natural gas ratepayers will fund incentives to solar water heating systems that replace natural gas usage, while funds collected through CSI from electric ratepayers will fund solar water heating systems replacing electric ones.

Effective date and adaptations

  • May 2010 for residential applications
  • October 2010 for multi-family and commercial buildings
  • March 2012 for single-family houses and multi-family houses for low-income families
  • February 2013 for solar process heat, solar cooling and non-residential solar pool heating
  • January 2015: adaption of the incentive level

Expiration date

The program is going to run over 8 years, until 31 December 2017, or until programme funds have been exhausted (whichever occurs first.)

Website

http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/FINAL_DECISION/112748.htm

https://www.csithermal.com/
 

Last review of this tabloid

August 2015

Contact

California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave.,
San Francisco
Terrie Prosper,
Tel: +1 415 703 2160.
Mail: tdp@cpuc.ca.gov

 

Effective Date: 
May 1, 2010
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