Solar Water Heating for Multifamily and Commercial

Mission Heights Condos Case Study

“Every homeowners association should seriously consider heating water with free energy from the sun, especially in sunny San Diego. It is a practical and economical solution to keeping dues low and making a positive impact on the environment.”

- Aaron Sathrum, president, Mission Heights HOA

Solar Thermal by the Numbers

Condo Community Uses Solar Hot Water to Increase Property Value

In 2010, the Mission Heights Condominiums homeowners association explored solar water heating systems for three buildings to increase property values and curb appeal while reducing energy usage and operating costs.

An overwhelming majority of association members approved the solar thermal project, in large part due to the advantages of rebates from the California Solar Initiative – Thermal program and federal tax credits that greatly decreased system installation costs.

The Mission Heights Condominiums comprise 116 residential units in three buildings. Each building has a separate hot water system and a boiler that provides heated water for all domestic uses, including showers, sinks and shared laundry facilities.

The systems have an anticipated lifetime of 25 years and provide an annual energy cost savings of more than $7,036. As an added benefit, the energy saved reduced the property’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 43%.

Property Profile

System Owner: Mission Heights Condominiums

Location: Mission Valley, CA

Site and System:

  • 116 units
  • 72 Solar thermal collectors (1080 sq. ft.)
  • Year installed: 2010
  • Contractor: Adroit Solar

Project Savings:

System cost: $206,140
CSI Thermal Rebate: $79,055
30% federal tax credit: $38,126
Total out of pocket: $88,960
Annual energy savings ($1.09/therm): $7,036
Simple payback: 12 years