The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) has released a report on the North Carolina geothermal industry it says “Spotlights a hidden gem” in the state’s energy efficient technology landscape. Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) are pricey to install, but savings come fast, NCSEA says.

The report says GSHP technologies, which use constant neutral temperatures found at the ground level to heat or cool buildings, are overall 45 percent more efficient than their conventional heating and cooling counterparts. Additionally, GSHPs are a good fit in NC because our state’s soil is hydraulic conducive. By allowing for the soil to retain fluid, water can move through the soil matrix with ease allowing for more effective conductivity properties needed for geothermal technologies.

Although the systems can cost as much as $5,000 to $8,000 to install, Kacey Hoover, NCSEA strategic relations manager, tells WRAL TechWire that savings come fast, particularly while both state and federal tax credits remain in place. Unless extended, North Carolina’s tax credits for green technologies ends this year, while the federal program continues through next year.

The report notes that North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC) has been a key component to our state’s growing geothermal industry and affects the future of increased installations.

Hoover says the insight she gets from NCSEA’s government affairs team suggests that extending the tax credit for energy efficient installations has “strong support” in the NC legislature.

Even with the tax credits, installations of geothermal heat pumps in the state has not been overwhelming. More than 10,500 units have shipped to NC since the tax credits were extended to include them, and more than 2,000 systems have been installed.

“This is a hidden gem,” says Hoover. “North Carolina tends to get press on other technologies, especially those that generate electricity, but this report helps highlight that geothermal is here and can help consumers meet energy needs at lower cost.”

For the full report see: