CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program

 

The CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program provides rebates to utility customers who install solar water heating (SWH) systems that displace natural gas usage.

On March 17, 2016, the CPUC approved PG&E Advice 3691-G/4800-E/ CSE Advice 69 /SCG Advice 4930 to shift $25 million from all sectors of the CSI Thermal general market budget to the CSI-Thermal low-income budget, increasing the total low-income budget to $50 million.

On October 1, 2015, the Commission approved Decision 15-10-004, modifying the CSI Thermal program to expand the eligibility requirements for single-family low income customers.

On October 6, 2011, the CPUC approved a Decision creating the CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program, which allocates $25 million to promote the installation of solar water heating (SWH) systems on qualifying low-income single-family and multifamily residences through a program of direct financial incentives.  Incentives are available to customers who currently heat their water with natural gas in the service territories of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).

Single-family SWH systems that displace natural gas can qualify for incentives up to $5,397.  Multifamily applicants can qualify for incentives up to $800,000.  Actual incentive amounts will be based on the expected performance of the system as predicted by the SRCC rating and positioning, as is current practice in the CSI-Thermal General Market program. Single-family low-income SWH systems will be determined using the existing CSI-Thermal single-family calculator, and multifamily low-income SWH system will use the CSI-Thermal multifamily calculator.  Incentive levels will decline in four steps as the program meets certain installation benchmarks.

CSI-Thermal Low-Income Program Incentive Levels 

For each of the four steps, the tables below show the incentive level for single and multifamily.

Natural Gas-Displacing Solar Water Heating Incentives 

SINGLE-FAMILY 

                                                                                                          

Step

Single-Family Low-Income
Incentive per Therm
Displaced

Low-Income
Single-Family Cap

1

$36.90

$5,397

2

$32.42

$4,741

3

$21.35

$3,122

4

$10.28

$1,503

 

Single-Family Eligibility Requirements

The single-family residence must, among other requirements, meet one of the following:

  1. Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP) Eligible:  The household must currently be participating, or have previously participated, in a Commission-approved and supervised gas corporation Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP) administered by PG&E, SCG, or SDG&E; or
  2. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) Participation: The household must currently be participating, or have previously participated, in the Low Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); or
  3. Low-Income Residential Housing Definition:  The residence must meet the definition of low-income residential housing in Section 2861(e), where the residence is financed with low-income housing tax credits or tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds and is tied to a deed restriction.

MULITIFAMILY 

                                                                                                                          

Step

Multifamily Low-Income
Incentive per Therm
Displaced

Low-Income
Multifamily Cap

1

$24.89

$800,000

2

$21.86

$800,000

3

$14.85

$800,000

4

$7.83

$800,000

 

The multifamily housing property must, among other requirements, meet either of the following:

  1. Energy Saving Assistance Program (ESAP) Eligible:  Meet the terms in Section 2866(c)(2) by demonstrating that at least 50 percent of all units in the multifamily housing structure are occupied by ratepayers that have or are currently participating in a Commission-approved and supervised gas corporation Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP).  Building must remain low-income for at least 10 years, or
  2. Low-Income Residential Housing Definition:  Meet terms under Section 2861(e), which defines low-income residential housing as a complex in which at least 20 percent of total housing units are sold or rented to lower income households AND are subject to a deed restriction,

For more information on program requirements, please refer to the CSI Thermal Program Handbook.

CSI Thermal Program Handbook

Program Administrators

Customers will be able to apply for incentives through their local program administrator, which in most cases will be the utility that supplies the natural gas currently used to heat the customer's water.  The one exception is that the Center for Sustainable Energy serves as program administrator for customers of San Diego Gas & Electric. For more information about the availability of incentives in your area, contact your local CSI-Thermal Program Administrator.

Relying on clean, renewable power generation is a high priority for the CPUC and the State of California.