The tax credit has certainly effected the geo market. I have been selling and installing geothermal for many years. My state (NH) has no incentives for geothermal of any type and obviously without the tax credit makes it 0 on all levels.
However prior to the tax credit I had years like 2006 through 2008 where I sold more geothermal then even in the tax credit years of 30%. In my market the big seller is the inverter air source heat pumps which are very cheap to install and a fraction of the cost of geothermal and the local utilities here give up to 500.00 per ton on these air source units so it makes it even cheaper. People contact us looking to install these and of course we will with hesitation and letting the customer know exactly what they are buying. But what people need to realize is these inverter heat pumps have a real life expectancy of about 10 years. They also need to realize that these systems are the least reliable when you need them the most! Even my Mitsubishi Rep (who represents Maine and New Hampshire) said that you should not be installing these as a sole heating system for homes without supplemental heating!!!
People ask for incentives on geothermal and get discouraged when it is not there and say without the incentives, geothermal is not worth it to me because of the cost up front. With the last 10 years of variable fuel costs, the life expectancy of the inverter air source being roughly 2.5 to 3 times less than geothermal (meaning changing your system out 2.5 to 3 times in the same life expectancy of geothermal) and with low financing for renewable, WHY DO YOU NEED INCETIVES TO INSTALL GEOTHERMAL!!! YOU ARE GOING TO GET A PAYBACK FROM DOING IT!! And in some cases geothermal is a faster payback than solar PV with the tax credits!
They see current fuel prices being low and do you all think that is staying this way even with a President like Trump. Take the last 10 year averages on the cost of fuel oil, propane and in some areas like the Midwest on natural gas. Don't let your customers tell you that the prices of fossil fuels are staying as they are. Don't let them use current costs as the basis of what a system will cost them to operate. If you give into that then geothermal is not an option from the start of any conversation or sale!
Then you have the customers who say when you present the 10 year fuel averages who say things like (I ONLY PLAN TO LIVE HERE FOR 10 YEARS) or (ELECTRIC RATES HAVE GONE UP TO). I don't know what electric utility rates are doing anywhere but here in New England, but if you took a 10 year average of electric KWH rates here over the past 10 years there has been an increase of about 9%. No fossil fuel around here can say that! The other thing is for those who say maybe 10 more years in my home you say, people looking to buy your house in 10 years will love the fact the home they are buying has efficient geothermal heating and cooling in it. So from a re-sale stand point it is a huge benefit to them.
The end result is it would be nice to get the Federal Tax Credit permanently. But if we do get it back to 2021 or 22 we will be having this same issue again when that time comes. It is almost better not to have it again so another downturn of the market doesn't put the industry in this same situation again! It is time to start selling geothermal for what it is and not allowing tax credits and incentives hurt us like it is now. Many here have said more installers to learn the industry by having the tax credit. I don't know about the rest of the country but the tax credit brought in a bunch of fly by night installers of it and now that the credit is gone they have disappeared. My service department here is so busy now taking care of installs done by the companies that came and went with the tax credit. In my opinion the tax credit made for a tremendous amount of bad installs as these companies took the tax credit as way to make some money and when it was gone they left a bad name on the industry and their crap installs and designs were left behind for good companies in the geo industry to take care of.
For all you companies who did that, stay away for good and never come back! The solar got their credit but many in that industry feel when their credit expires they are going to go through what the geothermal industry is. They are in the same boat right now with many fly by night companies doing it while there is incentive and they will all disappear when their credit goes away. I got an idea, lets tell the local governments and the federal government to take away all tax credits and incentives for all renewable energies out there. In exchange for that, you can now raise fossil fuel prices. All we need is higher fuel prices and problem with tax credits and incentives is solved. Remember 2008!
Sorry if this offends some of you out there, but it is time to get real. I was one who was very disappointed when the tax credit expired. Now that it is almost October and have had ample time to ponder the situation and see what has happened I have learned that the tax credit hurt our industry more than it benefited it.
Darren Rice Ultra Geothermal Inc.
Thank you Xiaobing Liu for the PowerPoint that you attached. I think one of the underlying issues that everyone is saying throughout this conversation is lack of Market Knowledge for consumers to understand that geothermal heating/cooling is their best option in most all cases. But to get the word out there we need the bigger players running ads and helping cover marketing costs, like Jeff Hammond mentioned.
I really think that all viable Heat Pump distributor companies, and heat pump accessory companies that can afford to pitch in should help to market this across the US in television advertising and printable marketing materials to give to all of us to pass out at vendor events we go to. We need help on a major scale level to market this technology to an ever growing fossil fuel consumption market.
Ultra Geothermal, Inc.
Make geothermal heating and cooling the "green apple" of your eye.