Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) offer an efficient solution for heating and cooling buildings, but navigating applicable tax credits or grants and finding local installers can be difficult for consumers. To ease the search for GHP assistance, the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) put together a list of resources below to help consumers interested in installing a GHP for a home or business.
What is a geothermal heat pump?
GHPs take advantage of the constant temperature of the shallow earth (40–70°F/4.5–21°C) to efficiently exchange temperatures, heating homes in the winter and cooling homes in the summer. Rocks and soils provide thermal energy storage, which allows GHPs to act as a heat sink—absorbing excess heat during summer, when surface temperatures are relatively higher—and as a heat source during the winter, when surface temperatures are lower. This increases efficiency and reduces the energy consumption of heating and cooling for residential and commercial buildings.
GHPs can be retrofitted to existing buildings and offer an efficient heating and cooling system that can be used in all 50 U.S. states. You can learn more about how GHPs work on the Geothermal Heat Pumps page or on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Saver GHPs page.
Is there federal financial assistance for residential and commercial consumers or homebuilders to install GHPs?
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 provides a 30% tax credit for ENERGY STAR-rated GHPs through 2032. Commercial GHP systems are also eligible for the Investment Tax Credit. A tax professional or local installer can provide more information about specific project eligibility and credits.
You can find more information about IRA heat pump tax credits in the White House’s IRA Guidebook, on DOE’s Office of Policy website, or on ENERGY STAR’s federal tax credits and incentives for energy efficiency page and the geothermal heat pump tax credit page.
Homeowners who qualify as low income can also seek support through DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Home Energy Assistance Program, both of which help with home energy bills, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs. Those who qualify as agricultural producers or rural small businesses can consider the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements.
Where can I learn about incentives or financial assistance for GHPs at the state or local level?
Renewable energy incentives vary by state, including tax credits, grants, and rebates.
Two good resources for state-level incentives:
- The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency provides a centralized resource for renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and incentives. You can search by state or use the USA Summary Tables page to filter for geothermal heat pumps (in the Technology dropdown menu).
- DOE’s State Energy Offices and Organizations page provides links for each state’s energy office.
The White House’s IRA fact sheets by state also summarize incentives for each state.
Remember that local resources can sometimes be the best resources. Your local utility, regional renewable energy organizations, and installers can often offer insight on incentives in your area. The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association and Geothermal Exchange Organization offer searchable directories of installers.
Where should I go for technical assistance?
DOE’s Energy Saver Geothermal Heat Pump page provides a good overview of the relevant characteristics for considering heat pumps. To assess whether your home or building meets the characteristics for installing a GHP, contact a geothermal designer (versus an installer) or a local professional engineer. The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association and Geothermal Exchange Organization offer searchable directories of designers, installers, and other professionals who can assist with GHPs. You can also contact your state energy office or do an internet search for “geothermal heat pump installers in (state)” or something similar.
Local governments, electric utilities, community-based organizations, and others can also apply for 40-60 hours of free technical assistance from DOE’s national laboratory experts on questions related to GHPs via Expert Match, part of DOE’s Communities to Clean Energy program.
How is GTO helping expand the use of GHPs across the nation?
GTO’s mission is to increase geothermal energy deployment through research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of innovative technologies that enhance exploration and production. We are an applied research organization that manages portfolios of RD&D projects selected through competitive funding solicitations.
In partnership with industry, academia, and DOE’s national laboratories, GTO works to expand geothermal development by funding activities in four program areas:
- Enhanced Geothermal Systems
- Hydrothermal Resources
- Low Temperature & Coproduced Resources (including GHPs)
- Data, Modeling, and Analysis