There is no question that the current 30% Federal Tax Credit is helping to drive demand. Read more here about the tax credit. For long-term consistent growth, the real driving force has to be consumer and contractor education. There is a small percentage of contractors offering geothermal heat pump systems, if you can expand that base correctly you'll expand the education both in the contractor and the consumer sector. A solid contractor base would be one which has proper training and installs geothermal heat pumps often enough to do it properly each and every time.
I recently read an article by Chris Williams of Heatspring Magazine. In his article, Chris addresses what he believes to be the top 4 items the industry needs to drive adoption of the technology. Here are my thoughts on his trends to drive adoption.
Trend #1 - State Policy will Drive Adoption - while the Federal Tax Credit is helping and State assistance would also help, these should be temporary measures. The technology can and will stand on its own. The industry is viable and sustainable, but the major players are all simply bit players in the overall HVAC market. It will take major level adoption from HVAC manufacturers to make a major impact. Why don't the majors get involved? The truth be told, they don't have a vested interest. Equivalent equipment cost is essentially the same as what they currently sell and geo technology requires an entire new level of training and dealer development. Why invest in the 3% that's geo when you already have a substantial piece of the 97%? They pick up no revenue from the excavation cost and this is typically the additional cost over a conventional HVAC system. This is the continual hurdle the industry faces, no buy-in from the big guys; Carrier, Goodman, Lennox, Trane, York. While Bosch has started to make their presence known in the geo market, they are not an overall HVAC player in North America and have struggled adapting to the difference in distribution between HVAC and their other divisions. They do bring a recognizable name and legitimacy to the industry, this MUST be backed up with consumer marketing, infrastructure support and training.