Solar Thermal incentives for California Agriculture, Food Processing & Multifamily

If your California business heats water – for cooking, cleaning, steam generation or other processes – even for swimming pools – keep your eyes on the growing CSI-Thermal incentive program.

The CPUC allocated $350 million to the program in 2010.  Incentive take-up has been slow, so administrators have been including new applications and incentives structures, thus creating new opportunities for energy savings in various commercial sectors.

Aggressive incentive levels exist for the multifamily affordable housing marketplace.   Housing authorities and developers whose properties have centralized boilers and heated pools will find attractive project economics… as long as they can find a way to monetize the tax benefits (HelioPower’s structured finance division can help).

Those with food processing and agricultural processes will also find attractive incentives, covering most of the project installation costs.  Other businesses with eligible commercial end uses include commercial laundries, laundromats, restaurants,  and car washes.

Eligible processes must directly consume solar heated potable water, as opposed to using the solar heated water as a medium to carry heat for some other end use.  Typical applications include:

  • Process heat – low-temperature solar process heat for industrial uses
  • Solar cooling – using thermally activated cooling systems driven by solar energy
  • Space heating – solar thermal ventilation systems that preheat air for indoor uses
  • Combination systems – any combination of water heating, space heating, solar cooling, and process heat

Gridley Solar Water Heat

The CSI-Thermal Program Administrators expect to have this new portion of the program ready for application submittals by Sept. 25, 2013.  You can learn more about California Solar Thermal incentives at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Solar/swh/, or by contacting HelioPower.  For breaking news on related policies, follow me on Twitter: @TMillhoff.