Geothermal heat pumps are a great technology. They helps the environment, they save homeowners money, and they’re a good, long term solution to the energy crisis. It sounds like an easy choice, right? Well, geothermal heat pumps have a higher initial installation cost than some competing technologies, and those initial costs are what has prohibited geothermal from growing to its full potential.
The Federal, State and Provincial governments know that geothermal heat pumps are a viable solution to fight the energy crisis. The Environmental Protection Agency has even stated that geothermal heat pumps are the most efficient option for home heating. To encourage the adoption of geothermal technology, Provincial, State and Federal governments have offered incentives to homeowners to defray the initial costs of installing a system. The incentives have proven beneficial for the geothermal industry, making geothermal heat pumps more economically competitive against traditional heating and cooling systems.
These incentives exist, but they aren’t well publicized and as a result, not many homeowners know about them. There are a number of incentives available both in Canada and the United States for homeowners who are interested in accessing them.
In the United States, there is a 30% Federal government incentive for qualified geothermal systems. For this incentive, installation costs are considered part the system, and there is no upper limit on the eligible amount. In order to qualify for the grant, the geothermal heat pump needs to be ENERGY STAR certified. ENERGY STAR certification ensures that the geothermal heat pump used in the installation meets efficiency standards. The NORDIC line of geothermal heat pumps is ENERGY STAR certified for sale in the United States and Canada. There are also state specific renewable energy incentives which can be found here.
There are also incentives and rebates available in Canada. In the past, there was a Federal incentive as part of the ecoENERGY Retrofit program. Unfortunately those incentives were discontinued despite widespread requests to make the program permanent. While the Federal grants have been discontinued, the Provincial grants remain robust. Currently there are grants available in New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, to name a few. For a complete list of provincial government grants, visit our website.
The process to apply for an incentive program is slightly different for every Province. Due to this, we recommend visiting the incentive website and thoroughly reading through all of the available information before beginning your geothermal installation. In Canada, generally a geothermal system is required to be ENERGY STAR rated and installed by a certified geothermal installer. As such, make sure that the system you select, as well as the geothermal dealer you select to install the system, have all of the appropriate qualifications. You can check any geothermal system’s ENERGY STAR through the search function status on their website. All certified geothermal installers in Canada are listed on the Canadian GeoExchange Website.
Geothermal heat pumps are the best solution for a comfortable, affordable and sustainable heating and cooling. Unfortunately the higher average initial cost makes them less competitive against traditional, harmful heating and cooling systems. The Provincial, Federal, and State incentives are there to help homeowners afford the initial cost of installing geothermal, and to reduce the payback period of their geothermal installation. With Provincial incentives, a geothermal system could completely pay for itself in the form of savings on heating and cooling bills in five years or less. That’s a great investment in a system that will provide low cost heating and cooling for many years to come.