Geothermal Installers in Philadelphia
Are you thinking about converting your Philadelphia home to use geothermal energy? If so, you’re at the right place, regardless of the stage of your decision-making and buying journey. Here are some things to consider as you look into geothermal energy installers in Philadelphia.
Why Is Geothermal Energy a Good Choice?
Geothermal energy is a renewable resource that comes from the Earth. It’s also readily and always available, unlike solar or wind energy, which has output variations depending on seasons and the weather.
Another perk is that most of the components of a geothermal energy system are underground, so they don't require large open spaces. That could also be advantageous if you love the idea of renewable power but aren’t crazy about how options like solar substantially change your home’s appearance.
Geothermal energy can also save you money. The United States government researched the outcomes associated with Energy Star-rated geothermal energy heat pumps, and the findings showed such installations use 61% less power than standard models. That equates to nearly $830 in annual savings and $9,500 in total, assuming a 15-year life span.
Penn State researchers have even identified how geothermal energy might eventually come from abandoned oil and gas wells throughout Pennsylvania. They’re interested in repurposing that infrastructure and, ideally, doing so sustainably.
Is Your Home a Good Candidate for Geothermal Energy?
Your property’s soil condition and whether there are nearby geothermal resources will determine if this energy source is best for you. The Western region of the United States has significant supplies, but people are continually identifying other parts of the country and world that are particularly well-suited to geothermal energy.
The rocks on your property should be easy to drill through. One geothermal energy option is called a vertical loop system, which is ideal if you have limited space and want to minimize disruption to your land. However, it requires digging 100-500 feet deep. That could be too difficult on rocky ground.
In contrast, horizontal loop systems are less than 7 feet below the ground. That’s helpful if the terrain is a concern, but these types are also comparably more affected by weather conditions.
These two options are closed-loop systems. However, you could also get an open-loop system, provided your property has a well or surface body of water.
Another thing to remember is whether you must abide by homeowners association rules or similar stipulations. Problems can arise if the installation interferes with common areas or a communal septic system. Figuring out those details beforehand is the best way to steer clear of future issues.
How Much Will a Geothermal Energy System Cost?
Many people understandably want to know how much they can expect to spend on a geothermal energy system. Even when they recognize the long-term payoffs, the upfront costs can sometimes create a deterrent.
Resources indicate that it costs from $2,199 to $21,480 to have a geothermal system installed in the United States. However, the national average is $12,708. A chart from Statista shows a broader look by displaying the global per-kilowatt cost from 2010 to 2021. The 2021 average was $3,991 and was as high as $5,509 in 2012.
The costs should gradually become more accessible as a growing number of companies start offering geothermal energy solutions in Philadelphia and elsewhere. For example, startup Dandelion Energy plans to double its 2023 installations by replicating the pay-as-you-go model that helped solar energy gain momentum. However, that company only operates in three states so far, with Pennsylvania not currently among them.
However, Pennsylvania offers nearly 100 incentive programs for people who install or use renewable energy. There’s also the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act at the federal level. One relevant part of the legislation allows homeowners to claim credits for up to 30% of the installation costs of a geothermal system. That perk remains in effect through 2032, and the total available credit amount drops progressively afterward.
Does Philadelphia Use Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is not yet as widely used as some other options. However, it’s starting to gain momentum in Philadelphia. The Geodelphia website tracks installations throughout the city and has records for more than 40. The geothermal systems are at West Philadelphia’s Enterprise Center and the Overbrook Farms neighborhood, among others.
Bartram’s Garden, located in Southwest Philadelphia, also utilizes geothermal energy. Tom Reber, who oversees the landscapes and facilities at the public landmark, described some of the benefits. They included better energy efficiency and the elimination of heating with fuel oil. Reber also explained that the switch to geothermal energy allowed for getting rid of the large and noisy compressors that formerly took up precious real estate in the garden.
Experts also point out that geothermal energy could reduce bills and burdens placed on low-income households in Philadelphia. Others familiar with the matter and how it impacts the area take issue with the city’s gas supplier's long-term plan to remain dependent on fossil fuels. They advocate for a move away from fossil fuels and toward geothermal energy when possible.
How Can You Get Geothermal Energy in Philadelphia?
A good first step is identifying companies that provide geothermal energy and operate in Philadelphia. From there, you can make initial inquiries and explain your specific needs.
Smith Sustainable Design is another option. That company also installs other types of renewable energy, including solar panels. Many people don’t realize that you can install geothermal and solar systems together to increase the overall payoffs. That’s not an option for everyone, but it’s worth seeing if it’s possible in your case.
Chelsea Air has a broad service area that includes Philadelphia. The company has installed thousands of geothermal systems over the last several decades. There’s also Matthew R. Borden Heating & Cooling Inc., which offers geothermal energy to customers in Philadelphia.
Those are just a few of the many options. Taking the time to think about your budget and expectations will help future conversations with an installer go smoothly and be mutually beneficial.
Is Geothermal Energy the Right Option for You?
You’ve learned about numerous geothermal energy benefits and know how to make installation more affordable through rebates and other incentives. However, geothermal energy is not the best solution for everyone. That’s why it’s smart to thoroughly understand the topic and create a list of questions to ask installers. That should make you feel confident and excited about deciding what to do next.