Can Geothermal Heat Pumps Soar Like Solar?

According to an editorial in Forbes (online), “If geothermal heat pumps are to become commonplace, the process of financing and purchasing a reliable GHP system have to be simplified to the point where it becomes a matter of calling a name in the phone book. The success of SolarCity Corporation (NASD: SCTY) in providing solar to homeowners who are more interested in the green in their checking account than the green of their electricity shows the potential. That success is based on SolarCity’s ability to provide financing, installation, maintenance, and performance verification services internally. All the homeowner needs to do is pay the monthly bill for electricity production. The value proposition is simple: a hassle-free installation and savings from day one.”

Geothermal heat pumps also have the economic potential to deliver that same value proposition: hassle free installations, and reliable savings. But if the industry is to achieve this potential, several things have to come together:

  • A single company responsible for the entire installation, from engineering to installation to maintenance.
  • Reliable monitoring of heat production from the ground loop.
  • A financing tied to the geothermal installation itself, to allow a lease-like structure which allows homeowners to see the benefits from (the first day of operation).

“We already have the corporate and financial structures to bring the solar lease model to GHPs. In fact, it takes little stretch of the imagination to see a solar lease company acquiring or partnering with GHP installers and offering a geothermal lease along with the solar lease to its customers.” Read the rest of Tom Konrad’s opinion here.