San Francisco: Solar Water Heating Gaining Popularity | PG&E Currents

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San Francisco: Solar Water Heating Gaining Popularity | PG&E Currents

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Fluid in pipes gets heated by solar panels, meaning that a building’s boiler gets used much less. (Photos by Matt Nauman.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 4:00pm

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It was a warm, sunny morning atop the Hotel Ritz in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood. In short, it was a perfect day for reporters and building managers to see and learn about solar water heating.

Sponsored by the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) and PG&E, the event Wednesday (Aug. 29) showed off 695 square feet of solar panels that generate heat to heat water for the building’s 260 low-income residents. Using those panels to heat water saves 2,441 therms of natural gas a year for the Hotel Ritz.

The system cost $107,400, but $28,164 of that was paid for by a California Solar Initiative-Thermal incentive, which is administered by PG&E. (CSI-Thermal incentives typically cover 30 percent of the cost of a system, but recent changes to the program mean that eligible multi-family dwellings that add solar water heating can cover about 50 percent of the costs.)

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