NYS Legislature Unanimously Passes Tax Breaks for Homeowners Installing Geothermal Heat Pumps

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 by Kelsey Wright

NYS Legislature Unanimously Passes Tax Breaks for Homeowners Installing Geothermal Heat Pumps - Image 1

Buffalo, NY: The New York State Legislature has passed two measures to encourage New Yorkers to install geothermal heat pumps (GHPs).  The bills would give building owners who install GHP systems the same tax breaks as currently offered for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.  GHP systems provide ultra-efficient heating, cooling and hot water for buildings by using the near constant temperature of the ground as a heat source in the winter and as a heat sink in the summer.

Senator Robert Ortt (R-Niagara) sponsored the two bills in the New York Senate, where both passed unanimously on Earth Day, April 22nd.  A-2177a/S2905 was sponsored in the Assembly by Sean Ryan (D-Erie) and was passed unanimously on June 1st.  It grants the owners of residential GHP installations a tax credit of 25% of project costs, capped at $5,000, mirroring the tax credit for solar PV. 

A-25508a/S4279 provides a state sales tax exemption for residential and commercial GHP installations.  Sponsored by Ellen Jaffee (D-Rockland), this measure passed the Assembly by vote of 147 to 0 on June 9th.  Both measures will go to Governor Cuomo for his signature.

“Promoting natural, renewable energy is a common sense, bi-partisan approach that benefits all New Yorkers,” said Senator Rob Ortt (R,C,I – North Tonawanda). “It’s certainly important to reduce our carbon footprint for future generations.  But with geothermal solutions, we’re also investing in and creating good local jobs and helping reduce energy costs for hard-working families and small businesses.” 

NY Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO) President John Franceschina praised the Legislature for passing these measures, which bring geothermal the same tax breaks that have spurred tremendous job creation in the solar industry.  “We applaud Senator Ortt for recognizing the importance of GHP systems to address a host of New York’s energy and environmental goals”, said Franceschina, “Assemblymembers Ryan and Jaffee also showed great foresight shepherding these common sense measures to unanimous passage.”

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said “We have seen great success with the Solar energy tax credit in New York, and expanding this idea to include geothermal energy systems will help to lower energy costs, protect our environment, and create jobs across Western New York.  New York is focused on producing more and more energy from renewable sources, and incentivizing these green industries will be a great benefit to our society, and our energy future. I thank NY-GEO for their advocacy and for promoting the importance of geothermal energy."

“Geothermal energy, a renewable energy source, is a reliable and effective way to reduce the need for carbon based energy sources” said Assemblymember Jaffee.  “In addition to the environmental benefits, geothermal heating and cooling systems also provide great economic benefits, in that they save on operational costs for heating and cooling. Geothermal heating and cooling systems, coupled with solar PV, are New York’s best alternative to achieving net zero energy goals.  By eliminating sales and use tax for both the purchase and installation of geothermal systems, more New York State residents will be able to afford this energy course.   Investing in renewable energy is a smart investment - in our children’s future and the future of our increasingly fragile planet.

New York officials are paying closer attention to the pollution resulting from heating buildings.  The recently adopted State Energy Plan reports that 35 percent of the state’s fossil fuel greenhouse gases (GHG) result from “on-site combustion” (largely heating buildings) compared with 18 percent from New York’s electricity generating plants.  NY-GEO Executive Director Bill Nowak noted “If New York is to meet ambitious goals for reducing GHG emissions, geothermal heat pumps and other ‘renewable thermal’ technologies will need to play a big role.  We urge Governor Cuomo to sign these bills to help ease that transition”

The New York Geothermal Energy Organization (NY-GEO) is a non-profit trade association representing more than seventy geothermal heat pump (GHP) installers, manufacturers, distributors and industry stakeholders from throughout New York State.   

*Article is courtesy of NY-Geo.

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