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CFO Awards 2018 Nominees: Eco-Friendly, Energy Savings with Solar Water Heating

SoCal residents and businesses are taking important steps to reduce their environmental impact and conserve natural resources. Solar water heating is a great way to make your business more sustainable by relying on the clean, unlimited energy of the sun. Plus, the numerous financial incentives available and reduced energy costs could offer significant savings.


Installing a solar water heating system offers many valuable advantages. Natural gas is already an affordable energy source and a solar water heating system further reduces the amount of energy needed for heating water. This could help business owners and property managers improve their bottom line by reducing their natural gas energy use and lowering their SoCalGas® bill.

In addition, by using the renewable energy of the sun, solar water heating is a more environmentally friendly way to maintain a reliable and efficient supply of hot water. It makes your business or property more sustainable by reducing your overall carbon footprint. Finally, solar water heating is a proven technology that typically lasts for 20 years or longer.


California commercial businesses and multi-family residential properties can still take advantage of the valuable rebates being offered for installing a solar water heating system. Income-qualified customers may be eligible for rebates at an even higher incentive rate. These rebates have been extended through 2020 and may cover up to 80% 1 of a qualifying system’s cost. The rebates are funded by the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Thermal program and are made available through SoCalGas.

These rebates can be quite significant. Commercial businesses and multi family properties can receive a rebate of up to $800,000 for installing a qualifying solar water heating system or up to $500,000 for a solar pool heating system. Federal and local tax credits may cover up to an additional 30% 2 of the installed equipment costs making solar water heating a smart investment. Ted Bavin, President of All Valley Solar, a solar energy installation company, says, “Between the SoCalGas rebates and available tax credits, many customers can recover installation costs within the first or second year.”

Businesses can heat much more than just tap water with the sun. Solar water heating systems can be used for process heating, space heating and cooling. Hotels, gyms, schools, and community centers can heat swimming pools, spas and showers. Water intensive facilities like restaurants, laundries, hospitals and manufacturing and industrial operations can also save money with the sun’s clean energy.


Installing solar water heating may be easier than you realize. A solar water heating system works with your existing natural gas water heater to capture the warmth of the sun to heat water and store it until needed. By working in tandem, your business or property can count on having reliable hot water, day or night, rain or shine.

A set of solar thermal collectors is fastened to your roof or property to absorb solar energy. This solar energy is used to preheat and store water in a separate storage tank. When needed, this preheated water flows through your existing natural gas water heater or boiler and into your water system. This helps to reduce the energy used by your existing natural gas water heater. When the sun is not shining, your existing natural gas water heater is there to back-up your solar water heating system.

  1. A pump circulates a heat transfer liquid to the roof.
  2. Solar collectors absorb the sun’s thermal energy and heat the transfer liquid.
  3. The transfer liquid enters a heat exchanger, warming the storage tank.
  4. Hot water flows from the storage tank to your existing natural gas water heater, which provides backup heating when needed.

For more information and a directory of local contractors who can help you install a qualifying solar water heating system 3, visit socalgas.com/solar.

Program funded by California utility customers and administered by SoCalGas® under auspices of the Public Utilities Commission.

1 Percentage based on SoCalGas’ 2017 program results. Rebate amounts vary and are based on estimated therms saved annually, and limited by the total install cost of the solar system.

2 Consult your tax professional for specific details of federal tax credits and local incentives for solar water heating.

3 Restrictions, requirements and qualifications apply. See program conditions for details.

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