Heat Pump Water Heaters
What is a HPWH?
Why install a HPWH?
Water heating accounts for a significant amount of energy used in our homes. Most homes in Palo Alto use natural gas to power their water heaters. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits GHGs into the atmosphere when used. Palo Alto is committed to providing clean energy. We have taken actions that have led to a carbon neutral electricity supply and today most of our electricity is coming from wind, solar and hydro resources. We are here to help if you are ready to make the switch.
- Water heating is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in most Palo Alto homes.
- 25% of home energy use is from water heating
- 90% of homes in Palo Alto have gas-powered water heaters.
- Gas water heaters produce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) while electric HPWHs powered by Palo Alto's 100% carbon neutral electricity have a zero carbon footprint.
- Electric HPWHs have fewer health and safety risks than gas water heaters, with reduced risk of backdrafting.
- For customers with a rooftop PV system, the cost for water heating using a HPWH is often lower than the cost of water heating with a gas tank water heater.
The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) is currently offering a rebate of up to $1500 to residents who install a high efficiency, electric heat pump water heater (HPWH).
To participate in this program you must be a CPAU residential customer replacing a gas or electric water heater or installing a HPWH in an existing home. Rebate is not available for new homes. The new HPWH must meet Product Tier 3 or higher tier from the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) standards. See the qualified products list.
Rebate Funding Levels
Eligible residents that participate in the HPWH program can receive rebates for installation of a HPWH. Rebate funding is subject to availability and may change without prior notice.
||Size of HPWH Tank
|Replacing and existing gas water heater with a HPWH
||Up to 79 Gallons
||80 gallons or more
|Replacing an existing electric water heater with a HPWH
||50 gallons or more
If you're ready to sign up for the program, please fill out the Heat Pump Water Heater Program Online Application before you begin your HPWH installation. A CPAU representative will contact you once we receive notification that your application has been submitted.
Heat Pump Water Heater Program Online Application
CPAU staff will review your application and, if approved, will send an email with instructions to submit the following required documents:
- Copy of permit with final inspection signature
- Invoice for purchase of HPWH
- Invoice from contractor/plumber/electrician
- Any photos that you would like to share (optional)
Note: This list is provided as a courtesy resource only. The City does not require or endorse the use of any of these firms. This list is not to be construed as exclusive, comprehensive or limiting in any way.
If you are a contractor interested in being added to this list, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steps to Install
Step One: Determine Whether a HPWH is Right for You
Our friends at the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance created a resource that allows you to identify the age of your water heater from the serial number. Alternatively, Palo Alto's trusted energy advisor, the Home Efficiency Genie, can help you with the age of your water heater or any HPWH questions.
Step Two: Complete the HPWH Online Application
To get started and to learn about eligibility, application rules and more, please visit the HPWH program application.
Step Three: Find a Contractor
CPAU provides a list of contractors in Palo Alto that have already installed or are able to install HPWHs in homes or businesses. If you're doing it yourself, please review the installation steps at HPWH installation webpage.
Step Four: Apply for a Permit
Before installation, you or your contractor must apply for a permit from the City of Palo Alto. Read the Permit Submittal Checklist to get started.
Step Five: Collect your Rebate
Once your rebate application is approved and your project is complete, you will need to submit all required documentation using the link included in your application approval email to receive your rebate.