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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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California Solar Initiative - Low-Income Solar Water Heating Rebate Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 11/05/2014
Program Overview:
State: California
Incentive Type: State Rebate Program
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat
Applicable Sectors: Multi-Family Residential, Low-Income Residential
Amount:Step 1 Incentive Rates (contact utility to determine current incentive levels):
Single-Family Low-Income: $25.64 per therm displaced
Multi-Family Low-Income: $19.23 per therm displaced
Maximum Incentive:Single-Family Low-Income: $3,750
Multi-Family Low-Income: $500,000
Equipment Requirements:Systems must be used in connection with a natural gas water heater. Systems used in connection with an electric water heater are ineligible.
Systems must be SRCC certified.
Installation Requirements:Systems must be installed by an appropriately licensed contractor
Funding Source:Ratepayer Funds
Program Budget:$25 Million
Start Date:3/29/2012
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
CPUC Decision 11-10-015
Authority 2:
Date Effective:
CSI Thermal Handbook
September 2013

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted in October 2011 to create the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Thermal Low-Income program for single and multifamily residential properties. The program offers rebates that are substantially higher than ones provided under the CSI-Thermal General Market Program.

The program is only available to customers who currently heat their water with natural gas in the service territories of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) . For single-family residences, customers must be participating or have previously participated in an Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP), and the property must remain low-income for at least 10 years. For multifamily housing property, at least 50% of all units in the structure must be occupied by ratepayers who have participated in an ESAP.  The residences must also meet the definition of low-income residential housing in California Public Utilities Code 2861(d). Additional requirements are outlined in the CSI Thermal Handbook.

Incentives will be determined based on the expected performance of the system using the SRCC rating and the specific orientation of the system. Incentives will step down over time in 4 steps as program participation levels are met. See the website above and the CSI Thermal Handbook for more information.

Interested customers should contact the appropriate program administrator:

Pacific Gas and Electric:
Phone: (877) 743-4112
Center for Sustainable Energy (SDG&E territory):
Phone:  (877) 333-SWHP
Southern California Gas Company:
Phone:  (800) Gas-2000
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.