Geothermal Energy Installers in San Francisco
Interest in geothermal heat is soaring throughout California as the state moves toward 100% clean energy. Geothermal energy installers in San Francisco have made it possible for residents of the Bay Area to tap into this efficient renewable energy source.
Although still in its infancy, California is one of the best places to transition to geothermal power. For one thing, most of the state sits on an active geothermal energy field.
San Franciscans can be some of the first to implement geothermal energy in their homes, reaping the rewards of reduced energy consumption and ample utility savings. Here’s everything you should know about installing geothermal heat pumps in your Bay Area home.
What Is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy derives from heat beneath the Earth’s surface. In the U.S., geothermal energy installers tap into this renewable source by drilling 10 to 300 feet below. At this depth, the temperature is about 302° Fahrenheit — a reliable, constant reservoir for heat pumps to pull from.
The geothermal heat pump has a continuous loop of water or glycerol circling above and belowground. During colder months, the liquid carries geothermal heat into the structure, giving off heat through its ducts. In the summer, heat pumps move warmed fluids from the building into the ground for cooling.
Geothermal energy is recognized as an energy-efficient, environmentally-safe and cost-effective renewable energy alternative.
Is Geothermal Energy Available in San Francisco?
The San Francisco Bay area is ideal for installing geothermal energy. The county rests upon the largest geothermal energy field — the Geysers.
San Francisco is an expensive city to live in. The cost of living is nearly 28% higher than the rest of California and 79% higher than the U.S. average.
Naturally, utilities are costly for residents. According to Energy Sage, San Franciscans pay $236 monthly on electricity — equal to $2,832 annually. That’s 22% more than what the average American pays for electricity.
Residents of San Francisco could significantly reduce their electric bills by switching to geothermal energy. Despite a mass exodus, San Francisco was home to 834,000 people in 2022. If more people adopted geothermal energy, it would also help the city achieve its renewable energy goals.
What Is the Geysers Geothermal Field?
Just north of the San Francisco Bay area in the Mayacamas Mountains, the Geyseys span 45 square miles along Sonoma and Lake Counties — the most expansive field of geothermal power plants worldwide.
Calpine — the most renowned and largest U.S. geothermal producer — operates 13 facilities there, generating 725 megawatts of electricity. Calpine’s electricity generation is enough to power 725,000 homes — equivalent to the size of San Francisco.
In mid-2023, nearby Oakland agreed to purchase $13.5 million of geothermal power in 12 years from the Geysers Power Company facilities. The contract runs from January 2025 until December 2036, accounting for 10% of Oakland’s energy portfolio.
As geothermal energy becomes more prevalent in the Bay Area, more San Francisco residents and businesses can utilize clean electricity for heating and cooling.
Will Geothermal Energy Help California Reach its Climate Goals?
California has been a pioneer in renewable energy. Therefore, it should be little surprise that the state has ambitious climate plans. By 2045, California hopes to achieve 100% clean energy — it’s already on its way toward 60% renewable power by 2030.
Geothermal isn’t new to California — a state with 42 geothermal power plants. Interestingly, geothermal energy only accounted for 4.5% of California’s energy portfolio in 2018.
Yet, as renewable sources become cheaper — such as solar and solar batteries — it could be detrimental to California’s progress. Geothermal has a three-times higher energy capacity, expected to save the state $662 million annually in energy and operational costs.
How Much Does Geothermal Energy Cost?
Many people have sticker shock when they learn what it costs to install geothermal energy in their homes. The geothermal heat pump ranges from $2,211 to $4,455, while the entire system may run between $12,000 and $38,000.
Prices vary depending on contractor fees and unit size. A larger unit or complete installation may increase the price, including excavating, ground looping and upgrading the ductwork. Of course, geothermal energy may cost less as its popularity trends upward. Geothermal technology advancements could reduce costs, accounting for 8.5% of the total U.S. energy by 2050.
As for now, homeowners may receive a 30% geothermal tax credit until January 1, 2033. Likewise, geothermal heat pumps have a 25-year life span with a 300–600% greater efficiency and 25–50% reduced energy consumption.
Where to Find Geothermal Energy Installers in San Francisco
You may need to call around, but geothermal energy installers in San Francisco can help you transition to clean and cost-effective energy.
Cabrillo Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling is a licensed HVAC contractor that installs heat pumps in the San Francisco Bay area. The company highlights the suitability of the city’s temperate climate for this particular heat source. San Francisco residents should call for a consultation, in which one of Cabrillo’s expert technicians will recommend the best system for your home.
Bell Brothers Plumbing, Heating & Air is another HVAC company that specializes in geothermal energy installations in the Bay Area. Although San Francisco is an excellent location to implement geothermal energy, Bell Brothers doesn’t recommend it if you already have a natural gas-powered furnace. As the company points out, homeowners can only use it for cooling, so they’ll miss out on most of its efficiency.
Homeowners may search for a local geothermal contractor through popular geothermal heat pumps manufacturers, such as Carrier, Bosch or Bryant. Insert your zip code on their websites to see which geothermal energy installers in the Bay Area can integrate geothermal heat for you correctly.
Just the Beginning of Geothermal Energy in San Fransisco
The San Francisco Bay Area is just starting to understand the benefits of geothermal energy. However, geothermal energy will take California’s renewable energy goals to new heights in the coming years. Perhaps most exciting is the upcoming expansion of the Geysers Geothermal Field, which will deliver more opportunities for San Francisco residents to jump on clean energy and cost savings.