All about federal tax credits for geothermal heat pumps

An exciting new tax credit is now available for home and commercial building owners who install geothermal heating and cooling systems through the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424). H.R. 1424 offers a onetime tax credit of 30% of the total investment for homeowners who install residential ground loop or ground water geothermal heat pumps. A credit of 10% of the total investment is also available (no maximum) for a commercial system installation.

To qualify, the systems must meet or exceed EnergyStar requirements and be installed after December 31, 2007. While units installed in 2008 are subject to a $2,000 cap on the credit, units installed from 2009 through 2016 can take advantage of the full credit. Owners can file for the credit by completing the Renewable Energy Credits subsection on their tax return forms for 2008. For taxpayers that are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, they can claim the credit on their taxes for the following year. No proof of purchase will be required; however, in case of an audit, owners are encouraged to keep a detailed invoice of their purchase on file. The contractor who sold and installed the product should list the purchase as a “Geothermal Heat Pump” on the invoice and that it “Exceeds requirements of Energy Star program currently in effect”.

The tax credit is available through December 31, 2016. Consult your local tax professional for advice on taking advantage of the tax credit, as this announcement is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of any financial strategy.

This tax credit item is for existing homes or new construction. This does not have to be your primary residence, as vacations and rentals are eligible, and it includes the cost of materials and installation.

3 KEY POINTS –

  1. The tax credit cap is $1,500 on collective home improvement elements other than Geo-Thermal ‘Ground Source’ Heat Pumps, Solar Hot Water Heating, Solar Photovoltaic, and Fuel Cell systems – which each have no cap and are eligible through 2016.
  2. The tax credits for exterior ‘weatherization’ improvements like windows, doors and insulation do not include the cost of installation!
  3. If you reach the $1,500 cap in 2009, you are not eligible for additional tax credits in 2010.

Choose Geothermal Heat Pumps that meet these criteria to get the Tax Credit; and check products carefully, because in many cases an ENERGY STAR certification does not necessarily meet the tax credit requirements below:

Geothermal Heat Pumps: All Energy Star models qualify.
Close Loop – A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is permanently contained in a closed system.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) must be at or above 14.1.
  • Coefficient of Performance must be at or above 3.3.

Open Loop – A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is part of a larger environment. The most common open loop systems use ground water or surface water as the heat transfer medium.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) must be at or above 16.2.
  • Coefficient of Performance must be at or above 3.6.

Direct Expansion – A geothermal heat pump system in which the refrigerant is circulated in pipes buried in the ground, rather than using a heat transfer fluid, such as water or antifreeze solution in a separate closed loop, and fluid to refrigerant heat exchanger. A DX system includes all of the equipment both inside and outside the house. DX systems may be single or multi-speed.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) must be at or above 15.
  • Coefficient of Performance must be at or above 3.5.

Look for Geothermal integration to combine a Furnace, Air Conditioner, and Boiler together in one system. You get forced air heating and cooling, plus the system generates hot water for radiant floors.

www.AmericanDreamGeothermal.com

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