Solar and Geothermal Working Together in New York

100% energy goals and mandates are passing across the country at a dizzying pace, but New York, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, has become the leader on the East Coast.  For years, under the New York Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, the state has aggressively pursued a full-court press on transforming energy from a fossil-fueled one to a renewable energy future. Now, with the passage and signing of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the state will eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That vision goes far beyond the ambitious solar and wind policies that get much of the attention and includes clean home geothermal. 

Net zero means more than just moving off carbon-based electricity–it also means moving off carbon-based heating and cooling. Approximately one-quarter of New York’s emissions come from homes and commercial buildings, which burn natural gas or fuel oil for heating. These systems need to be revamped to run on carbon-free electricity or renewable gas–that’s where geothermal comes in. 

To that end, the state has adopted some of the most aggressive geothermal incentives in the country. Ground source heat pump (GSHP) (or geothermal) systems transfer thermal energy between the ground and a building to heat and cool without any harmful emissions or additional fuel. Through the Ground Source Heat Pump Rebate initiative, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has made $26.5 million available for the installation of this cutting-edge, renewable energy technology.

Next homeowners can add in the 30% federal tax credit and you can see why geothermal heat pumps are some of the fastest growing renewable energy sources in the state. Finally, utilities are also supporting geothermal installation with ConEd offering Westchester County homeowners up to $5000 towards the purchase of a clean geothermal system. 

Together the incentives make geothermal more affordable than ever, but that’s not the end. Solar is the perfect complement to geothermal, and thanks to the equally generous incentives for solar energy, homeowners can generate significant savings for going solar as well. 

When installed in tandem, a geothermal heat pump works well with the solar array because the heat pump regulates the temperature of the home using the electricity generated by the solar panels. It’s an entirely green system that takes care of most of the energy use of a home without giving off any dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. Rather than competing systems, geothermal and solar complement each other and reduce your home’s carbon emissions.

Pairing solar and geothermal together gives homeowners the ability to maximize the benefits of both technologies while providing them with the additional benefit of increasing energy independence. And furthermore, it helps free them from rising monthly utility bills. When residents find a company that has the ability to finance these renovations in-house, it allows them the ability to amortize the investment over time and see savings from Day One.

We’re excited about the opportunities that New York offers people in the geothermal market. When you combine it with the solar opportunities the state has to offer, the sky’s the limit for the greening of the homes in the Empire State.


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Kathy is the co-founder and CEO at Dandelion, a fast-growing spinout of Alphabet’s X. Previously, Kathy was a product manager and Rapid Evaluator at Alphabet's X. Prior to Dandelion, Kathy led a team that created technology to extract carbon dioxide from seawater to create carbon-neutral fuel. Kathy has been recognized as one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, one of Albany Business Review's 40 under 40, and as a Leader of Tomorrow. Kathy graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Computer Science.

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