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First Commercial CSI Rebate in San Diego

June 17, 2011Joint News Release – First CSI (California Solar Initiative) Solar Thermal (hot water generation) Rebate in San Diego for commercial properties to be Awarded to Mission Heights HOA – Adroit Solar / Energy / Design, on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 10:30am at 6255 Rancho Mission Road, San Diego, CA 92108

First Rebate for Commercial Solar Water Heating in San Diego

Mission Heights Condominiums Unveils New Clean Energy System

San Diego, Calif. (June 17, 2011) – The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) will award $72,523.00 as the first commercial solar water heating system rebate processed in San Diego County under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Solar Thermal Program on Thursday, July 14th, 2011, to the homeowners association of Mission Heights Condominiums in Mission Valley.  A “switching on” and CSI rebate check presentation ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m., activating 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 and his Energy Policy Analyst, Eric Engelman will be attending the event, along with several other area professionals having interest in the renewable energy and clean technology industries.

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 several other renewable energy and energy efficient technologies for commercial and large residential properties. They installed 72 solar thermal collectors manufactured by Vaillant Solar Systems that will provide an estimated 3,800 gallons of hot water a day to the 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.”

In addition to reducing energy cost for the Mission Heights residents, the project’s environmental benefits include cutting natural gas consumption by 10,276 therms per year and carbon dioxide emissions by 60 tons per year.

Spearheading the solar water heating installation at Mission Heights was Aaron Sathrum, President of the Mission Heights Home Owners Association.

“We have already saved thousands of dollars in water heating costs; compared to utility billings from January 2010, through May 2010, during the months of January 2011, through May 2011, we saved $3,000.00”, Sathrum 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 Home Owners 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 benefits of adopting this technology such as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the elimination of the use of our nonrenewable natural resources and the significant financial savings for the homeowners at Mission Heights” said David Demarest, Business Development Manager at Adroit Solar / Energy / Design.  “Part of the reservations many home owners, 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/exposure to the several rebates and incentives now available through the CCSE, California Solar Initiative, San Diego Gas and Electric, and state and federal tax credits, nor how to fully utilize them – it is a somewhat complex process.  Once shown the actual costs to implement these technologies, after rebates, incentives and tax credits are taken into consideration, making the decision to adopt them is very easy because it is financially logical”.  Demarest says “These projects are not “smoke and mirrors” they are fiscally and technologically legitimate and will become more common as the public better understands the financial realities”.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the statewide solar hot water rebate program in January 2010 to help reduce the upfront 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. For information, go to or call 877-333-7947.

About Adroit Solar / Energy / Design

Adroit Solar / Energy / Design is a San Diego renewable energy and energy efficient technology contractor with over 23 Years in the industry. They install solar electric, solar thermal, geothermal heating and cooling systems, radiant heating and cooling systems, hydrogen fuel cells, microturbines and provide 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 US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the owner / President, James Backman, is a LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), as are most of their employees.  Adroit Solar / Energy / Design recently contributed to 2 SANDEE award winning projects and have processed more solar thermal installation rebate submittals through the CSI rebate program than any other contractor in San Diego.  For more information about these technologies, or how to implement them please contact us at  858-483-3568 ext-1

About The California Center for Sustainable Energy

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. Visit

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The Board of Directors of the Mission Heights Condominium Home Owners Association researched the most cost effective ways to reduce their operating expenses and emissions of greenhouse gases.  Due to the attractive energy savings and the California Solar Initiative – Thermal rebate program, they collectively agreed a solar hot water heating system was the most beneficial technology they could implement to   accomplish these goals. Aaron Sathrum, President of the Mission Heights HOA, had the foresight to contact the     California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) and asked them for names of contractors experienced installing solar hot water heating systems. He was provided with a list of contractors specializing in these systems utilizing the CSI-Thermal Program.  Adroit Solar has processed more solar hot water heating projects through the CSI-Thermal Commercial Program than any other contractor, and the Mission Heights HOA chose them to do their installation.


After conducting a thorough analysis of Mission Height’s resident’s natural gas usage, Adroit Solar designed a system that would offset natural gas consumption for Domestic Hot Water heating, and pay back in the shortest time frame reasonably possible. The type of system Adroit specified is an “active flat plate, glazed collector, closed loop pressurized system” which is the best type of solar water heating system for the particulars of their property and their resident’s usage. The project consists of three separate solar water heating systems, to serve the 116 residential units within the 3 building development. A total of 72 Vaillant solar thermal collectors, 3 Haase Energy Tanks, UV protected and fully insulated pipes were installed, producing approximately 3,800 gallons of hot water per day.

The closed loop system utilizes a propylene glycol and water solar fluid mixture to protect against freezing and eliminate the introduction of hard water into the solar collectors. The sun heats the solar fluid in the collectors on the roofs which is then pumped down to the solar storage tank where the heat exchanger transfers the energy to the water in the tank. As hot water is used by the occupants, solar heated water in the storage tank is delivered to the natural gas powered water heating system, significantly reducing natural gas consumption and emissions. The system electronically monitors the temperature in the solar storage tank and continues the heat transfer process as long as the solar energy is available. Adroit Solar’s state of the art system design also provides for the mitigation of a large portion of the recirculation losses inherent in typical commercial solar hot water system designs.

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