Clean Power California Solar Initiative Thermal Project

Published on April 19th, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen


This Month’s Tip on How to Greenify Your Home — Solar Water Heaters

April 19th, 2012 by  

California Solar Initiative Thermal Project

If you live in California, this is going to be easy. Californians already have a reputation for working to help out the environment (emissions laws are notorious, for example), and this next step seems like it fits in perfectly well: solar water heaters.

It’s Already Hot, Just Direct the Heat

The CSI (that’s California Solar Initiative, not the gory police procedural) has launched its Thermal Program, encouraging all Californians to use the sun to heat their water. The program has 4 administrators — California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) — all of whom are cooperating in the state-wide outreach campaign.

Gwen Marelli, Director of Commercial and Industrial Services (SoCalGas), points out the timing of the program is deliberate:

“Earth Month is the perfect time of year for people to think about what more they can do to use energy more efficiently and reduce emissions. Solar water heating is a great way to do both. The rebates available from the CSI-Thermal Program help make the purchase and installation of qualifying systems more affordable.”

Details, Details, Details

While solar water heating is already widely available, the CSI Thermal Project means that customers of the four utilities listed above get rebates (up to $1875, not bad) for a solar heating unit on a single-family home. Owners of commercial and multi-family buildings get up to $500K.

Of course, requirements have to be met in order to actually get the rebate — how much energy the system will displace is a factor, as well as how quickly the system is paid for. Andrew McAllister, Managing Director for CCSE, believes that the rebate will drive business:

“This rebate encourages home and business owners to take the next step in energy conservation and efficiency, and helps build a sustainable future for California. The time is now to learn more about solar water heating and the CSI-Thermal Program.”

Why Solar Water Heating?

Solar water heating doesn’t replace a standard water heater — instead, it incorporates it into the new system. The sun’s energy is used to heat the water, which is then stored. As hot water is pulled from the conventional water heater, the solar-heated water replaces it.

Gary Barsley, manager for SCE’s solar and self-generation programs, says this about solar heating:

“The sun’s heat energy is clean and abundant, and the solar water heating technology is efficient. That makes solar water heating systems a smart way to generate hot water for your home or business.”

Yet one more step along the way to a really energy-efficient home or business.

Questions or comments? Let us know below!

Source: Business Wire
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.

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  • Nrmantena

    Once again, your article misses vital information on solar-water heaters:

    1. What are the capacities available? What is the cost of each/
    2. Cost-benefit analysis for a mid-sized home and amortization
    3. Suppliers and Installers in California
    4. This data will really help understand the economic viability
    5. May I request you to furnish these details through, may be, an
    6. Now that the Summer season will be shining bright light on CA,
    it is TIME to publish all the details needed to make a decision.

    NR Mantena

  • SirSparks

    I live in an (RV) self converted box truck and have just 12 sq. ft (3 x 2x2ft panels) of solar heat panels which cost about $240. They are enough to heat my 16 gallon hot water tank to above required shower/sink water temperature. Used sparingly 16 gallons is enough for 2 showers. The tank is non pressurized so very easy to circulate the water, the pump cost just $17.

    Although I have a 12V 1500W self built backup instantaneous electric water heater (Also solar powered) to boost temperature (by up to 24F) I find I virtually never need it, perhaps 1 or 2 times a month for 5 minutes.

    Solar hot water is GREAT.

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