Geothermal rebates

The Indiana Office of Energy & Defence Development (the OED, not to be confused with the dictionary) just released their grant programs for fiscal 2008-2009. There’s some interesting stuff for small-scale demonstration projects and a variety of things for non-profit and commerical, but really only one program for residential, the aptly named Geothermal Residential Rebate program.

This program allows you to apply for $1500 toward installing a new geothermal heat pump or $1000 if you’re replacing an existing heat pump. A geothermal heat pump would still be several thousand dollars more than a traditional furnace, but it helps make it more attractive.

The OED also released a PDF of the results of last year’s program. It’s a very cool look at the economics of geothermal heat pumps in Indiana. The report gives the average cost (including installation) of each size of heat pump (from 2 to 6 tons) that got the rebate last year. Even better, it compares those costs with the cost of a different type of furnace over several years.

In the final analysis, they find that geothermal heat pumps have under a 6-year payback no matter what the alternative is. If you’re using heating oil, it could even pay for itself in under 2 years!

According to the report, the OED calculates that every dollar spent in rebates has saved consumers two to three dollars and stimulated spending within the state (since geothermal heat pumps are local business).

Maggie is making fun of me for thinking about this when we haven’t even painted the front rooms of the house yet. I figure that now is the time to start saving money so that we’ll be able to afford it when our current furnace fails. Until then, at least a natural gas furnace is the second-best option!

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