USA: Solar Hot Water System on Newest High-Rise in San Diego Central
 USA: Solar Hot Water System on Newest High-Rise in San Diego Central

USA: Solar Hot Water System on Newest High-Rise in San Diego Central

CeladonUS-American company Adroit Solar is currently installing a solar hot water system on the newest high-rise in the city centre of San Diego. The 17-storey building called Celadon is scheduled to be completed in early 2015. The solar installation has been subsidised by the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and was one of 285 projects which had applied for subsidies under the category Multi-Family Residential – Low Income over the last 12 months. The picture, which was taken from the onsite crane, shows the solar panels installed on the roof.
Photo: Adroit Solar

With a view of the entire Coronado Bridge, downtown, and even the harbour, it seems hardly imaginable that Celadon in central San Diego is to provide apartments for low-income families – but it will. Developed, owned, and managed by the non-profit Bridge Housing Corporation, Celadon will offer 250 flats for senior citizens, as well as low-income families and individuals earning between 30 and 60 % of the “area median income”. Some residential units will be reserved for an initiative by San Diego’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS), which helps homeless people with mental illnesses gain access to social services and permanent housing.
Turner Construction commissioned renewable energy contractor Adroit Solar to design, build and maintain the photovoltaic facade systems and the solar hot water installation on the roof. The solar thermal system consists of 105 solar thermal collectors from Mexican manufacturer Kioto Clear Energy with a total collector area of 213 m² and a 2,448 gallon (9.3 m³) storage tank from US manufacturer Hasse. Over the next few weeks, Adroit Solar’s team will install the photovoltaic facade of 125 1Soltech modules. Celadon will be one of the few buildings in San Diego to have an integrated solar facade.
Affordable housing community focuses on renewable energies
Adroit Solar’s Vice President of Engineering, William Chen, says that “the affordable housing community is strongly focusing on renewable energy, because they receive higher rebates under the California Solar Initiative. It significantly reduces operating expenses, promotes environmental consciousness and is simply an excellent investment for our community's future." Solar thermal heat in multi-family social housing projects is supported with round about 150 % of the programme´s usual incentive.
Application figures increased significantly over the last 12 months compared to the first three years of the programme. Between May 2010 and May 2013, the number of approved applications had been 1,401 – an average of 467 per year. But between May 2013 and 15 June 2014, CSI’s online statistics show a total of 835, almost double as much as during the first three years. It seems as if the marketing campaign and the inclusion of new technologies have both proven to be an asset in increasing demand. 
The share of the multi-family low-income building segment increased from 22 % at the end of May 2013 to 34 % over the last 12 months (see the table below). The share of commercial and residential multi-family applications fell from 30 % to 23 %. Because commercial pools were incorporated in the subsidy scheme at the end of 2012, every second installation in this segment was a solar thermal pool heating. 



Single-family low income

Multi-family low income

Multi-family residential and commercial


Total number of applications submitted between 30 May 2013 and 15 June 2014






Share in segment

40 %

3 %

34 %

23 %

100 %

Total number of applications submitted between May 2010 and May 2013






Share in segment

48 %

0 %

22 %

30 %

100 %

Source: Online Excel list of submitted applications from (programme information)
More information:
Kioto Clear Energy:

Baerbel Epp

Bärbel Epp is Founder and Director of the German communication and market research agency solrico and editor-in-chief of