Multi-Family Property Owners Learn How to Take Advantage of Newly Increased Solar Water Heating Incentives

Publish date: 
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Contact's name: 
Friday Apaliski, 415-355-3788; Guillermo Rodriguez, 415-355-3756; PG&E External Communications, 415-973-5930

Today, the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) met with leaders in the non-profit housing community and property managers of multi-family buildings to discuss strategies for saving money on water heating costs – typically the highest utility cost for multi-family buildings – by utilizing solar water heating systems.

The California Solar Initiative (CSI) - Thermal Program, administered by PG&E, offers cash rebates for solar water heating systems on single-family homes and multi-family and commercial properties. Incentives for the program recently increased by more than 10 percent per therm, a move that – coupled with available Federal Tax credits – should stimulate market demand for this technology.

“Solar water heating simply makes sense for multi-tenant buildings such as ours,” said Don Falk, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Development Corporation. “Our solar water heating systems generate cost savings that we pass directly on to our tenants in the form of lower rents. In addition, the system is helping our organization be more financially secure, both by saving money on our current utility bills and by reducing the impact of energy price fluctuations down the line. Projects like this are an investment in the future of affordable housing, and the environment.”

Today’s meeting and tour took place at The Ritz, located at 216 Eddy. The Ritz is a low-income, multi-family building owned by the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Company (TNDC), who installed solar water heating and took advantage of utility rebates to offset the cost. Since its founding in 1981, the community-based, non-profit TNDC has been committed to serving the lower-income individuals in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood by providing the most basic foundation for prosperity: a place to call home.

Recently, the TNDC took advantage of $85,867 in CSI Thermal incentives to install solar water heating systems on two of its properties. TNDC’s 64 solar collectors now preheat water for showers, washing machines, sinks and other onsite needs for more than 260 residents. TNDC expects the systems to save nearly $7,000 each year on natural gas bills (energy savings calculated using an average of $1.00 per therm saved). In addition, the solar water heating installations are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution.

“At PG&E, we are pleased that projects such as this give more of our customers the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of solar water heating,” said Andrew Yip, Manager of Solar and Customer Generation for PG&E. “This project also continues our commitment to the environment, and to providing our customers with the cleanest, most reliable service possible.”

“Our City’s residents and business owners are on the forefront of solar installation. With tools like the Solar Water Heating Calculator and financing help from GreenFinanceSF, SF Environment is enabling the solar market and increasing local renewable energy adoption. We greatly appreciate the support from PG&E and the participation of local organizations like the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation,” said Melanie Nutter, Director of SF Environment.

“There’s never been a better time for owners of low-income, multi-family buildings in California to invest in solar water-heating technology,” said Justin Weil, President of SunWater Solar. “With CSI-Thermal rebates at an all-time high, and with the availability of tax credits and no-money-down financing, this is an opportunity owners should not miss.”

SunWater Solar was the installer for TNDC’s solar water heating systems. They are a design/build company based in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing exclusively in solar thermal technology, such as solar water heating and solar cooling, for commercial clients.

For more information please visit sfenvironment.org/energy/renewable-energy/solar