Renewable shower power

Install a solar water heater in your home or business, get up to half-a-million bucks?

It could happen: Four investor-owned utilities in California just launched a new effort, California Solar Initiative’s thermal program, to get residents to switch from propane, electric- or natural-gas-powered water heaters to those warmed up by the sun’s rays. Owners of single-family homes can get up to a $1,875 rebate for making the switch; commercial buildings could get up to $500,000.

According to a CSI-Thermal Program website (, rebate amounts will decline over time; the program expires in December 2017, and so far only Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers are eligible locally.