California CSI-Thermal Program for Commercial Swimming Pool Heating


The inclusion of commercial pool heating in the CSI-Thermal Rebate Program is great news for commercial pool owners/operators, aquatic engineering design firms, and approved contractors throughout the State of California.

Rebate Facts

  • As many as 40,000 commercial pools in the state qualify
  • Rebate available to pools currently heated or not, as well as replacement solar systems
  • Amount of rebate is based on estimated annual displaced therms of natural gas
  • $80,000,000 in program funding through 2017, or when funding runs out
  • Most systems will qualify for a rebate equal to at least 50% and possibly higher than 75% of the cost of the system
  • There is currently no cap on system size or rebate amount


Eligibility Requirements

In order to receive an incentive through the CSI-Thermal Program, installed solar pool heating equipment must meet the following criteria:

  • Facility must be an existing natural gas customer in the service territories of PG&E, SCE, SoCalGas and SDG&E
  • System must be certified by IAPMO (alternatively, SRCC)
  • System installations must conform to manufacturer’s specifications and all applicable codes and standards
  • Systems must be listed under and meet the requirements of the NSF-50 safety, durability, and toxicity standard

Regarding public and private commercial swimming pools in the State of California:

“All pumps, filters, chemical feeders, skimmers and supplemental equipment shall comply with the applicable requirements established by the NSF/ANSI 50-2010 performance standard effective August 2010”

— California Department of Public Health (Title 24,Section 3123B.2)

Finding an Eligible Solar Thermal Contractor

Contractors must be approved participate in the CSI-Thermal Program. A listing of all eligible CSI-Thermal Solar Water Heating Contractors is provided for consumers.

Your solar water heating contractor will complete and submit the incentive application paperwork for you.

Rebate Program Background

Since the modern solar pool heating system was introduced nearly 40 years ago, over two million pool owners have enjoyed the warm luxury of a heated pool, without the high energy bills, by using the sun’s endless supply of free energy. Though the market for residential solar pool heating in this country has seen steady growth in that time, the commercial market has suffered due to a greater upfront cost and a lack of skilled installers.

However, this doesn’t mean a market for solar heating systems on commercial pools fails to exist. In fact, we think commercial pools are a great candidate for solar since, for most, an unheated pool means unhappy customers. Additionally, pools that are located in indoor facilities receive no natural warmth from the sun, and must be heated.

According to PK Data, who compiles statistics on the swimming pool and spa industry, there are roughly 40,000 commercial swimming pools in the state of California—most of which are currently heated.
California businesses that operate a commercial swimming pool often have no choice but to heat their pools to a comfortable temperature.

Many of these hotels, resorts, apartment complexes, homeowners associations, health clubs, camps, waterparks, and schools are heated with fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane, or heat pumps. This increases the U.S. dependence on imported fuels and pollutes the air.

Fossil fuel prices fluctuate significantly, and are expected to rise over the next decade. But solar pool heating systems can provide a clean, domestic and affordable way to reduce the monthly energy bill for heating commercial swimming pools.

While the various solar pool heater manufacturers had long opposed a rebate, they did all support a level playing field. If the commercial solar pool heating market was to grow and compete, it was going to need government support—just like every other form of fuel in this country. In Washington, the 2008 extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) ensured a 30% federal tax credit for solar systems, though pool heating was unfortunately excluded.

Across the country, Program Administrators for the California Solar Initiative were looking for a way to increase the number of solar thermal system rebates awarded—they found it in commercial pool heating. An amendment to include commercial solar pool heating was Introduced as part of Assembly Bill 2249, with strong support from the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CalSEIA).

On September 27, 2012, AB 2249 was signed into law by California Governor Edmund G. Brown—marking a huge step toward a level playing field for commercial solar pool heating in the state.

About Aquatherm Industries, Inc.

We firmly believe that heating a swimming pool with a fossil-fuel heater is a luxury we can no longer afford. For over 20 years, we have focused on providing an alternative to pool owners who share that belief. To date, we have helped over one million pool owners around the world maximize their swim season, as well as their investment in a swimming pool—independent of fossil-fuels.

All materials are processed and assembled under one roof, at our 50,000 square-foot facility in Lakewood, New Jersey. This “pellets to pallets,” vertically-integrated approach gives us total quality control, and assures collectors and components of the highest quality.

As the only ISO-registered solar thermal collector manufacturer in the United States, Aquatherm is proud to meet the strict quality management standards set forth by ISO 9001:2008. In addition, Aquatherm Industries is the only U.S. manufacturer to have its systems listed under NSF-50.

Aquatherm Industries is the largest manufacturer of solar pool heaters in the United States, and the preeminent leader in polymer technologies for solar heating applications. Our success has been built around our international Dealer Network, the strongest and most comprehensive in the industry. Our Dealers are among the elite in solar professionals, and continue to set the standard for quality installations and customer satisfaction. With Dealers throughout the United States and worldwide from Australia to Europe, the sun is always shining on an Aquatherm Solar Pool Heater.


[1] Assembly Bill 2249: Solar Water Heating & Efficiency Act of 2007

[2] Decision 13-08-004 on Commercial Solar Swimming Pool Heating