By Mario McKellop
Thanks to the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and SoCalGas®, businesses operating in Southern California can take advantage of a remarkable program that could potentially save them thousands of dollars per year and lower their carbon footprint. Here’s some more information on solar water heating and its many benefits.
How Solar Water Heating Works
A solar water heating system is comprised of four parts: A solar power collector, a pump, a heat exchanger and a water tank. The collector gathers thermal energy from the sun, which is used to warm heat transfer liquids. Once those liquids get hot enough, they are pumped into a heat exchanger, which warms the water in the tank. That water then flows into your business’s water heater, where it can be used for things like baths, showers, swimming pools, spas, dishwashers, washing machines and industrial boilers.
Solar water heating systems work in tandem with natural gas-based systems, which will provide your business with hot water during overcast and rainy days. However, since the Southland gets an average of 284 sunny days per year, it’s a location that is uniquely suited for the use of solar water heating systems.
Why Should I Invest in a Solar Water Heating System?
Solar water heating systems are great for the environment and for your bottom line. To start it could reduce the energy usage of a business or multifamily property that requires a lot of hot water. For example, UCLA installed a solar water heating system for its residence halls and was able to offset 80 percent of their water heating needs. The changeover allowed the university to save thousands of dollars annually and significantly reduced its natural gas usage.
While the energy and financial saving each individual business will receive from a solar water heating system will vary, apartment rental companies, hoteliers, restaurants, spas and laundromats could help lower their monthly utility bills and improve profitability over time by going solar.
How Can I Get a Rebate on a Solar Water Heating System?
To sweeten the pot, qualified Southern California businesses serviced by SoCalGas can get access to up to $800,000 in rebates, at a rate of $20.19 per therm. And, those same businesses can take advantage of rebates up to $500,000 if they get a solar pool heating system installed by the end of this year. Additionally, those companies may also qualify for local and federal tax credits that will cover up to 30 percent of the installed equipment costs. However, it should be noted the total incentive one site with multiple systems can receive is $800,000.
For more information and a directory of local contractors who can help you start heating water with the sun, visit: socalgas.com/solar
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.