Adroit Solar Announces First California Solar Initiative

Adroit Solar announces the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) will present $72,523 as the first multifamily / commercial solar water heating system rebate awarded in San Diego County from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Solar Thermal Program on Thursday, July 14, 2011, at 10:30am, to the homeowners association of Mission Heights Condominiums in Mission Valley. The CSI rebate check presentation ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. for the system that will supply hot water to 116 residences at an annual energy cost savings of nearly $11,000. City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will be among those speaking at the event.

The zero-emissions system was installed by Adroit Solar / Energy / Design (, a leading San Diego designer and installation contractor of large-scale solar water heating systems and other renewable energy and energy efficient technologies for commercial and large residential properties. At this project they installed 3 separate systems consisting of 72 solar thermal collectors manufactured by Vaillant Solar Systems that will provide an estimated 3,800 gallons of hot water a day to the Mission Heights Condominiums that were built in 1979.

“Solar water heating is perfectly suited for condominiums and apartment buildings because a single system can supply the hot water needs for many residents at once, improving the efficiency and long-term sustainability of their buildings,” said Irene Stillings, CCSE executive director. “The Mission Heights Homeowners Association has taken a significant step forward in reducing their energy use and helping to curb greenhouse gas emissions with clean solar energy.”

“San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers will benefit from the efforts of this valuable program that will increase the amount of solar water heaters in the region,” said Caroline Winn, vice president of customer services for SDG&E. “This means lower energy bills and carbon footprints for our customers.”

“In just six months we have already saved thousands of dollars in water heating costs. Comparing utility billings from January through June 2010, with utility billings for the months of January through June 2011, we have saved $3,800,” Aaron Sathrum, President of the Mission Heights Homeowners Association, said. “Due to the attractive energy savings, and the CSI thermal rebate program, solar water heating was a good financial decision for the homeowners association. It will help keep our dues low for many years and increase property values now and into the future. Every homeowners association should strongly consider installing solar thermal systems for their residents.”

“Our hats are off to Mr. Sathrum for taking the time to investigate and understand the environmental benefits of adopting this technology and the significant financial savings for the homeowners at Mission Heights,” said David Demarest, business development manager at Adroit Solar / Energy / Design.

Obstacles to Overcome:

“Part of the reservations many homeowners, business owners and some contractors have about the actual costs to implement these types of energy saving technologies are due to their lack of familiarity with the rebates now available through the California Solar Initiative Thermal Program and Federal Tax Credits, Bonus Depreciation nor how to fully utilize them – it is a somewhat complex process,” Demarest said. “Once shown the actual costs to implement these technologies, after rebates, tax credits and depreciation are taken into consideration, making the decision to adopt them is very easy because it is financially logical. After the Federal Tax Credit or Grant, CSI Thermal incentive and Bonus Depreciation the cost of a system can be less than 10% of the gross cost. It should be noted that without the rebates and incentives offered by the CSI Thermal program of $12.82 per therm saved, the 30% Federal Tax Credit and Depreciation, many of these projects would not be undertaken by property owners; we are all fortunate in California to have access to these programs.”

Recently Completed Projects:

Of the several recently completed commercial / multifamily solar water heating installations by Adroit Solar, Hill ‘N Dale Townhomes in San Diego installed a system consisting of 90 Vaillant solar collectors generating 151 kWthermal, providing 3,370 gallons per day, displacing 5,419 therms of natural gas and 127,080 pounds of CO2 a year. This multifamily solar water heating installation qualified for a $69,471 CSI incentive from CCSE. Cantabria Condominiums solar thermal system consists of 120 Vaillant solar collectors generating 202 kW thermal, providing 4,416 gallons of hot water per day, displacing 7,983 therms of natural gas and 169,440 pounds of CO2 per year. This installation qualified for a $102,342 CSI-thermal incentive. “Solar Thermal is the original solar energy technology and is four times as efficient as Photovoltaics, kilowatt to kilowatt, in the same collector area. Solar Thermal is mature, robust and ready for mass adoption,” says Jim Backman, founder and owner of Adroit Solar.

The California Public Utilities Commission established the statewide solar thermal rebate program in January 2010 to help reduce the up-front cost of solar hot water systems. CCSE administers the program in the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory. Rebates are available for almost all single-family homeowners to install solar water heating systems as well as certain commercial and multifamily applications.

Adroit Solar / Energy / Design is a San Diego renewable energy and energy efficient technology contractor with 25 years of experience in the solar energy. Adroit Solar installs solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, ground source geothermal heating and cooling systems, radiant heating and cooling systems, hydrogen fuel cells, microturbines and provides design and specification work for development of energy independent “net zero,” high-end residential and commercial properties. They are a licensed contractor in California and Hawaii with C46 (solar) and C36 (plumbing) licenses, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Owner and President James Backman is a LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), as are most of Adroit Solar employees. Adroit Solar / Energy / Design recently contributed to two San Diego Energy All-Star award winning projects and has processed more commercial solar thermal installation rebate submittals through the CSI rebate program than any other contractor in San Diego.

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals, businesses, municipalities and others to adopt greener practices and save energy and money through rebates, technical assistance and education. CCSE’s Energy Advisory Service is a group of accredited engineers, energy raters and technical specialists who provide comprehensive expertise on a wide range of challenges related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building and carbon impacts.