Solar Water Heating for Multifamily and Commercial

RG Investment Real Estate Case Study

“There are misunderstandings out there about solar water heating and its reliability and maintenance, but I can’t say enough about how well it is working at Jo-Mar – I am a true believer.”

- Pete Ceccherini, president, RG Investment Real Estate

Solar Thermal by the Numbers

Ocean Beach Apartment Complex Reduces Gas Use and Saves with Solar Hot Water

RG Investment Real Estate recently installed a new solar water heating system for the 24-unit Jo-Mar Apartments in San Diego's Ocean Beach neighborhood. Water heated by the system offsets natural gas use by the on-site central boiler unit, helping supply tenant demand for hot water.

This natural gas reduction equates to about a $1,700 savings off the property’s annual energy bill, a significant decrease in operating expenses. The system was eligible to receive a $28,000 rebate from the California Solar Initiative-Thermal Program, and the remaining net cost is eligible for the 30% federal investment tax credit. That will bring the out of pocket cost to $5,537, with a simple payback in just over three years. Further savings through accelerated commercial depreciation provides another opportunity to lower the total project cost to the customer.

In addition to installing the solar water heating system to service domestic hot water use, the property owners also elected to install a solar pool heating system. A generous CSI-Thermal rebate was also available for this installation.

Property Profile

System Owner: RG Investment Real Estate

Location: Ocean Beach, CA

Site and System:

  • 24 units
  • 10 solar thermal collectors (410 sq. ft.)
  • Year installed: 2015
  • Contractor: SunUp Solar Systems

Project Savings:

System cost: $35,935
CSI Thermal rebate ($20.19 per therm offset): $28,024
30% federal tax credit: $2,373
Total out of pocket: $5,537
Annual energy savings ($1.21/therm): $1,679
Simple payback: 3.3 years