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City of Palo Alto Utilities - Solar Water Heating Program


Incentive Type:

Utility Rebate Program

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:

Solar Water Heat

Applicable Sectors:

Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Multi-Family Residential, New Construction or Retrofit applications are eligible.


Residential/Small Commercial: determined by SRCC rated savings and Solar Orientation Factor (SOF)
Large Commercial/Industrial: based on the type of system installed, SRCC rated savings, and SOF

Maximum Incentive:

Residential/Small Commercial: $1,875
Large Commercial/Industrial/Multi-family: $100,000
One contractor can have no more than $150,000 in incentive reservations at any given time.

Equipment Requirements:

Residential/Small Commercial: Systems must be SRCC OG300 rated.
Larger projects: Collectors must be SRCC OG100 rated.
All systems must have a minimum of a 10-year manufacturer’s performance warranty to protect against defects and 15 percent degradation.
All systems must have a minimum 10-year performance warranty to protect the purchaser against more than a 15 percent degradation of system performance over the 10-year period that may occur as a result of faulty installation.
All systems must have a minimum 1-year warranty on installation labor and workmanship not otherwise covered by the manufacturer’s performance warranty.

Installation Requirements:

Systems must be installed by a contractor with an active A, B, c-4, C-36 or C-46 license. Self-installers are not required to be licensed, but must attend a one-day training workshop. Contractors are also required to attend the one-day training workshop.


City of Palo Alto Utilities is offering incentives for their residential, commercial and industrial customers to install solar water heating systems on their homes and facilities with a goal of 1,000 new systems in the city by 2020. There are two incentive options: Prescriptive Method and Area Method. Residential and Small Commercial installations must use the Prescriptive Method, which is calculated based on the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) rated savings of the system, and a design-based Solar Orientation Factor (SOF). Prescriptive incentives are capped at $1,875. Large Commercial installations must use the Area Method, which is based on the type of system installed, SRCC rated savings of collectors in various Climate Zones, and SOF. Area Method incentives are capped at $100,000.