Why Solar Thermal Makes Sense For Your California Business

By Alaina Brandenburger

For the past decade, many developers and builders have been working on making buildings more green. Newer buildings consider different methods for efficiently using energy, and they are built with more sustainable materials and design principles. Regardless of when your current building was constructed, there are still ways in which you can save energy and potentially cut monthly costs to your business. One such method is solar thermal water heating, which harnesses the energy of the sun to heat water. Not only is this heating method cleaner and more cost effective, but it may also make your business eligible for a tax credit. Find out how solar thermal water heating may be advantageous for your business.

California Wants You to Go Solar
In order to encourage residents and businesses to use solar thermal in California, the state is offering incentives to those who make the switch. Adding solar thermal equipment to your existing water heater could earn your business a rebate. California’s Public Utilities Commission has information about its GoSolar program on its website, which states, “Multifamily and Commercial properties qualify for rebates of up to $800,000 on solar water heating systems and eligible solar pool heating systems qualify for rebates of up to $500,000.” If your business owns its commercial property, check the website or contact the Public Utilities Commission to determine whether or not your business qualifies.

You May Save on Energy Bills
One benefit to solar thermal water heating is that it typically uses less energy than traditional water heaters. The system is coupled with a traditional water heater, which becomes a backup for heating water when no sunlight is available. It works when water travels through a tube to solar panels that are installed outside of the building. Once heated, the water is then returned to a separate tank where it is stored.

It Could Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Switching from gas or electrical heating to a solar thermal system can cut your energy usage significantly, which is not only good for your bottom line, but also for your impact on the environment. A white paper by William T. Guiney, President of Artic Solar, Inc., outlines potential energy savings that can be obtained by switching to solar energy. Guiney states, “…the technical potential for solar water heating in the United States [is] valued at about one quadrillion Btu of energy savings per year, worth billions of dollars in energy cost savings and 50 million to 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.” If your business is conscious of its carbon emissions, or if your brand is built on being environmentally friendly, this could be a great addition to your office.

Although the installation and equipment required for solar thermal water heating can initially be expensive, it can also potentially save your business money in the long run. By lowering your energy consumption, you will likely reduce some of your monthly energy expenses. If you use an approved contractor to install your system, your business could qualify for rebates or other incentives. Check out the SoCalGas® website to find out more.

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by regional program administrators under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Program funds, including any funds utilized for rebates or incentives, will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis until such funds are no longer available. This program may be modified or terminated without prior notice. The selection, purchase, and ownership of goods and/or services are the sole responsibility of customer. SoCalGas makes no warranty, whether express or implied, including the warranty of merchantability or fitness for a purpose, of goods or services selected by customer. Customers who choose to participate in this program are not obligated to purchase any additional goods or services offered by contractor or any other third party. SoCalGas does not endorse, qualify, or guarantee the work of any contractor or other third party. Consult your tax professional for specific details of federal tax credits and location incentives for solar water heating. Eligibility requirements apply; see the program conditions for details.
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