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Geothermal Energy Basics
Geothermal energy is heat from within the Earth that can be recovered as steam or hot water to heat buildings. Indiana's geothermal resources are used as thermal energy to heat water or to heat and cool buildings. Some Western states can generate electricity from their geothermal resources, but Indiana's geology is not conducive geothermal electricity plants. To view a map of US and Indiana geothermal resources, click here.
How it works:
Geothermal ground source heat pumps use stored thermal energy from the sun. At less than 500 feet, earth temperatures are generally stable and reflect annual air temperature. Geothermal heat pumps extract thermal energy and transfer heat into buildings during winter months and inject excess heat back into the ground during summer months. Because annual air temperatures vary between 47°F and 57°F in Indiana, heat extracted during the Winter needs to be supplemented to maintain a comfortable room temperature of 68°F. However, properly designed systems can be more efficient than conventional heating and cooling systems and hence may save consumers money over time.
To learn more about geothermal technology, click on the links below:
- Geothermal Heat Pumps and Geology in Indiana
- Geothermal Explained - EIA
- Geothermal Resources - DOE
- Geothermal Technologies Program - DOE
Indiana Projects and Incentives
A large scale geothermal project is under way at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. Ball State University is just finishing the project that will be the United State's largest ground-source, closed-loop district geothermal energy system. The university anticipates that $2 million dollars in saving will result from this project.
Organizations and individuals interested in pursuing their own projects can take advantage of Indiana's Property Tax Deduction.
Federal Incentives or Funding
- The Rural Energy for America Program: (REAP) provides grants and loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in rural communities and on farms. Contact your local USDA office for more information.
- Business Energy Investment Tax Credit: The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum credit. There is no stated expiration date.
- Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit: Tax credit of 30% of cost with no upper limit. The credit expires after 12/31/16. The tax credit for solar technologies has been extended until 2021.
- Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS): allows businesses to recover investments in certain property through depreciation deductions. Qualifying geothermal equipment is eligible for a cost recovery period of five years.