The Power of Geothermal and Solar Together

House with geothermal

Home heating and cooling costs are soaring this year. According to a September 2022 report by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, American households will collectively pay $22 billion more for heating costs this year, prompting homeowners to value energy efficiency with renewed vigor. 

In a consumer survey by the American real-estate developer Meritage Homes, 70 percent of respondents think it’s “important to live in a home with energy-efficient features.” In other words, for existing homeowners and potential buyers, energy efficiency isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. 

Recognizing that more efficient homes are good for people, communities, and the environment, the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy launched its Zero Energy Ready Home Program. This program certifies energy ready homes and provides tax incentives for high-performance homes that are “so energy efficient that a renewable energy system could offset most or all of the home’s annual energy use.”

For homeowners retrofitting their existing homes and people in the market for new builds, attaining Zero Energy Read Home certification comes with tax credits that were extended by The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The law amended Internal Revenue Code Section 45L, providing a tax credit of $5,000 for single-family homes and $1,000 – $5,000 for multi-family units certified to the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program. 

To achieve this certification, builders and buyers should look to electrify everything while turning increasingly affordable and capable solar power solutions to power an efficient, electric home. 

Here is how geothermal energy and solar power work together to make homes as efficient as possible, helping homeowners lower costs, minimize environmental impact, and maximize financial incentives.

Geothermal Lowers Energy Consumption

Home heating and cooling consume a lot of energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that more than half of all home energy use is spent on keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

Replacing an existing gas-powered heating unit with an electric-powered ground source heat pump electrifies this energy-hungry appliance while reducing overall demand. 

Geothermal technology leverages the earth’s consistent temperature five feet below the surface, using a heat pump to circulate fluid that continuously transfers heat to the home in the winter and draws heat out of the home in the summer. These systems are substantially more efficient, saving homeowners up to 50 percent of their monthly heating and cooling costs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that “geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective systems for heating and cooling buildings.”

At the same time, a geothermal system allows homeowners to radically reduce their emissions. Switching to geothermal can reduce your home greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75 percent, bringing homes closer to a net-zero emissions target. 

Taken together, for homeowners or new builders, a geothermal heating and cooling system represents an opportunity to lower energy demand, making it more feasible to use other renewable energy sources to achieve net zero emissions. 

Solar Power Energizes Homes

Rooftop solar is quickly becoming more accessible as federal and local financial incentives, broad product availability, and local service providers make residential solar a real possibility. 

Even as pandemic-related supply chain constraints and other economic factors inhibited solar adoption, residential solar installations still rose by 34 percent year-over-year. Now, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is making it even more affordable, allowing homeowners to subtract 30 percent of the cost of installing solar panels from their federal taxes. 

To be sure, solar panel impact is contingent on a variety of factors, including the amount of sunshine each day, household energy required, and overall product quality. 

However, when homeowners install a geothermal heating and cooling system, their overall electricity consumption plummets, making it more possible for solar panels to account for a home’s entire energy footprint.

Together They Can Produce Net Zero Emissions

A geothermal heating and cooling system electrifies a critical appliance traditionally powered by natural gas, heating oil, or other greenhouse gas-emitting source. 

Meanwhile, the system’s efficiency allows homeowners to leverage less amounts of increasingly capable solar technology to power their entire home ecosystem. 

A report on the economics of zero-energy homes found that the cost to retrofit or build a zero-energy or zero-energy ready home is modest, representing “a massive opportunity to address the carbon footprint of our building stock.” 

For homeowners, the power of geothermal energy and solar power together is even more personal, lowering their monthly energy bills, minimizing environmental harm, and improving long-term home value for a buying cohort increasingly concerned about energy efficiency.

Geothermal heating and cooling can help homeowners meet the benchmarks of the Zero Energy Home Ready Program. Contact our team today to see if your home qualifies for a Dandelion geothermal heating and cooling system.