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Solar Financing

Financing, rebates and other tools can reduce the up-front cost of your new solar thermal system to zero.

A wide variety of financing tools, incentives and credits help make a solar hot water system a low-cost, high-return investment. Solar hot water systems can greatly reduce energy costs for businesses and property owners. Here are some of the ways to reduce the upfront cost for your business or facility:

The SunWater Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Solar thermal systems can provide immense financial benefits to owners/operators of commercial buildings that heat large quantities of water or other fluids. SunWater Solar offers businesses and building owners a solar thermal PPA, which is an attractive option for those who want to acquire a commercial-scale solar thermal system without paying any upfront cost.

Under a solar thermal PPA, a third party covers the cost of system design, installation and maintenance. In exchange, the client agrees to buy the energy produced by the system at a set rate often equal to or less than market rates, for a set period of time (i.e., 20 years). When the PPA expires, the client may purchase the system at a reduced cost or opt to have it removed.

The benefits of the SunWater Solar PPA include:

  • Zero upfront cost for a new solar thermal system
  • Lower utility costs
  • Energy security
  • Free system maintenance for duration of PPA
  • Option to own solar thermal system when PPA expires
  • Compliance with building efficiency regulations
  • Reduction in site-generated greenhouse gases
  • Green marketing benefits

The California Solar Initiative-Thermal (CSI-Thermal) Thermal Incentive Program

The CSI-Thermal program set aside $350 million in direct financial incentives for California business and residence owners to install solar thermal systems. Incentives will decrease over time as incentives are paid out. The goals of the CSI-Thermal program include spurring the growth of the solar thermal industry and displacing 585 million therms of natural gas. The program will run through 2017, or until program funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first. The CSI-Thermal program also encourages solar thermal manufacturers and installers to commit to high-performance, low-cost designs.

Additional financial credits and tools that help reduce the cost of a commercial solar thermal system include:

    • Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC): A 30% federal tax credit for most solar thermal installations, with no maximum credit. Pool and hot tub systems are excluded, and system components must be SRCC-certified.
    • Accelerated Depreciation: Can be used alongside the federal ITC, and allows solar thermal system owners to re-coup a significant percentage of their investment in a system.
    • State & Local Rebates: Many U.S. states currently offer solar water-heating incentives that cover anywhere from 15% to 85% of system cost. Many local governments offer additional rebates to residents who install solar thermal systems.

For more information: Rebates and Incentives Fact Sheet (PDF).

Making hot water from the sun...

SunWater Solar is a design/build company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in solar water heating systems. The company provides these systems for many types of commercial projects. More»


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