A geothermal energy company is expanding its services to Connecticut.
An overhead shot of a house with a Dandelion Energy geothermal system.
New York-based Dandelion Energy, a spinoff of Google-parent Alphabet, announced Wednesday it will now offer its heating and cooling systems to Fairfield County residents.
With hundreds of thousands of Connecticut homes using fuel oil — and increased incentives for contractors moving homes from fuel oil to geothermal energy in the state — it was “quite motivating” to grow the service area, said Michael Sachse, the company’s CEO.
“It allows us to offer lower prices to consumers,” Sachse said. “We, of course, love it if someone wants to buy for reasons of sustainability, but we expect that customers are going to be cost-conscious and are only going to choose to do it if it’s an economic win for them. And so, these incentives allow us to offer consumers a price where they win, while also enabling us to install the systems without losing money.”
Michael Sachse, Dandelion Energy’s CEO
Typical homes tend to have an initial cost of about $40,000, with 26 percent of that cost eligible for a federal tax credit, Sachse said — and after that installation, you’d expect to see heating bills “drop precipitously.” Customers could pay up front, or look into financing options.
The installation involves drilling “a long, narrow hole down in the ground,” installing a heat pump inside and connecting them to form a closed loop — one that pulls heat up from the earth in the winter, and pushes it down while pulling cool air up in the summer, Sachse said.
It’s a process that can have a significant effect on a home’s environmental impact. The company’s 5-ton system “reduces a home’s carbon emissions by (about) 80 percent per year when switching from fuel oil,” according to its website.
In March, Forbes reported speaking to more than a dozen customers who complained of issues with Dandelion systems, which included “extended timelines, surprise costs, unexpected damages and results that left parts of their homes cold or noisy.” Dandelion declined to comment to Forbes about specific customers’ situations at the time, but took responsibility for the dissatisfaction, Forbes reported.
The company expects to install systems in the state’s first homes before Halloween, Sachse said.
“If things go well, we would definitely establish a new warehouse in Connecticut. We’ll be hiring some folks from Connecticut just to serve Connecticut now,” he said. “Again, if that goes well, our plan would be to do much much more.”