Bosch Thermotechnology and Orca Energy have signed a joint marketing agreement to provide geothermal infrastructure and heat pumps to home developers and builders across the U.S., with Orca Energy also providing utility services to homeowners.
The agreement between Bosch Thermotechnology and Orca Energy was signed in October at the annual International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Technical Conference and Expo held in Las Vegas, NV.
The agreement to collaborate in the U.S. marketplace solves one of the most persistent challenges facing the geothermal industry: how to overcome builder and homeowner resistance to the initial capital cost barrier of installing the ground heat exchanger. Geothermal heat pump systems can save between 30%-50% in heating and cooling costs compared to a conventional furnace or air conditioner. First costs for installing the heat exchanger loop element, however, have been a stumbling block the industry has struggled with for years.
Going forward, the two companies will jointly market to developers and builders as well as to new homebuyers. Homebuilders who enter into agreements with Orca Energy will receive design, installation and maintenance services for the ground heat exchanger at no expense. Orca Energy will serve the homeowner as a separate utility provider for the thermal energy provided by the geothermal heat pump system. Under such master agreements the builder agrees to have Bosch geothermal heat pumps, manufactured by Bosch’s FHP Manufacturing division in Fort Lauderdale, FL, installed in the new homes.
Orca Energy will charge the homeowner a one-time connection fee and then bill a Monthly Utility Charge (MUC) consisting of a capacity charge and a variable monthly energy charge. These charges are indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The MUC is designed to be set at or below actual space heating/cooling and hot water energy costs as compared to a conventional HVAC system. This provides the homeowner with stable and predictable energy costs over time.
Orca Energy and Bosch will jointly focus on securing master service agreements with developers/builders of new sub-divisions in areas where the cost of energy is high and where there is a strong value proposition.
Bosch will focus on developing its Accredited Bosch Contractor (ABC) loyalty program with geothermal contractors located in targeted markets in order to provide installation and maintenance for the Orca Energy Master Service Agreements.
“Bosch has made a commitment to grow our geothermal heat pump business, and to do that we have to make strategic connections within the industry with key partners like Orca Energy,” comments Richard Soper, Bosch Thermotechnology’s president for North America. “Orca provides a great solution to remove the initial cost barrier for geothermal systems. We look forward to working closely with our partners at Orca to make this a game-changer for geothermal acceptance.”
Orca Energy is a privately held U.S. company with industry leading expertise in geothermal utility operations headquartered in Seattle, WA. Orca’s sister company, GeoTility Systems Corp, has focused exclusively on the geothermal energy market and has had great success in Canada over the past 23 years, in a market where a federal tax incentive/rebate program does not exist. Building upon the successful utility model market transformation in Canada, Orca Energy anticipates achieving a broader based adoption of geothermal technology in the U.S. in cooperation with Bosch.
“Bosch is the perfect partner for us in the U.S.,” says Jim Leask, president and CEO of Orca Energy. “Both Bosch and Orca are serious about taking geothermal mainstream as the cleanest, most energy efficient and most comfortable renewable energy technology available. This is an important development for the geothermal marketplace. Our strategic alliance with Bosch will have a significant impact on the geothermal industry.”