Third-party ownership of geoexchange (GHEX) loop fields is a new approach for lowering the initial costs associated with geothermal heat pump heating and cooling systems. This financial tool has been used successfully for several years in the residential solar panel marketplace. David Neale (picture), Vice President of EnergyWise Partners, described how “thermal power” agreements are structured, and the GHEX loop monitoring options that support these arrangements. Third-party ownership of the GHEX loop field allows homeowners to avoid the high initial installation cost geothermal heating and cooling (GHC) systems, by simply paying a low monthly payment for the thermal energy consumed. This payment is much lower than the loan payment required to finance full ownership of the GHC system. The 30 percent federal tax credit accrues to owner of the geothermal heat pump equipment, which typically is the homeowner. Groundwater is protected by the GHEX installing company through a consistent installation approach using industry-standard procedures.
Adam Santry, President of Allied Geothermal Well Drilling and Joshua Kresge, President of Geothermal Genius showcased the “all geo” Chesapeake Golf Club Community, North East, Maryland in the last session of the workshop. This planned community received a “Game Changer” grant through the Maryland Energy Administration in 2013 as a demonstration project of the third-party GHEX loop field ownership model. They emphasized the importance of proper system design and installation as a fundamental requirement for ensuring the long-term protection of groundwater and optimizing system energy efficiency.
A CD of the presentations (PDF format) offered at the Baltimore, Maryland Geothermal Innovations workshop is available for a small fee that supports the education programs of the American Ground Water Trust. Send an email to the Trust for more information.