Public Pools Now Eligible for Solar Thermal Program

The California Public Utilities Commission will now allow public pool owners to claim rebates.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has announced that pools for commercial or public use will now be eligible to claim rebates from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) for installing solar pool heater systems. The CPUC expanded its definition of eligible facilities to include any pools for multifamily residential housing, hotels and motels, therapy, educational, governmental and non-profit institutions.

The CSI Thermal Program will pay $7.00 for every therm that is displaced annually by the installation of a solar pool system. As more of the funding for this program is subscribed, the per-therm rebate will decrease. Participating pool owners will receive a one-time payment that is based on a calculation of estimated future therm displacement.

The expansion of the CSI-Thermal program for hot water to public pools could be a major benefit for recreational and educational facilities throughout the state. Water heating costs for these institutions are typically one of their biggest expenses, so any way that they can save money will benefit those who use the community pools.

Organizations such as the YMCA and other community centers can realize significant savings. AMECO Solar recently completed the installation of a solar pool heating system on the roof of the California Aquatics Therapy & Wellness Center in Long Beach, California. Now that they are heating their pool with solar energy and the organization is saving upwards of $13,000 a year, which will add up to almost $250,000 in savings during the life time of the solar pool heater.

In mid-August, the CPUC also approved commercial facilities to receive rebates from the Thermal Program. This decision opens the doors for gyms, water parks and other enterprises to lower their expenses and help steer the state toward a renewable energy future. The final details of the program are scheduled to be finalized at the California Public Utilities Commission by November, 2013.