July 28, 2011
Geothermal heat pump sales will grow dramatically in the next several years, with annual U.S. unit shipments increasing from just fewer than 150,000 in 2011 to more than 326,000 units by 2017, according to Pike Research.
The market research firm forecasts that total worldwide capacity for geothermal direct use applications will increase by 179 percent during the same period. Heat pumps will likely represent a significant majority of the global market, accounting for 84 percent of total capacity.
An efficient and reliable option for commercial, residential and institutional building owners, geothermal heat pumps exploit the nearly constant temperatures found just beneath the ground. While cost and lack of consumer awareness remain primary obstacles to increased adoption, tax incentives and policies supporting building efficiency improvements are helping to drive dramatic growth in the heat pump market.
“The potential for geothermal heat pumps is high, but installations currently represent just 1 percent of the heating and cooling market,” said industry analyst Mackinnon Lawrence. “However, growing electricity demand, rising energy prices, and increasing regulation around emissions and efficiency are all expected to push demand higher. Used on their own, geothermal heat pumps are capable of producing large reductions in energy use and peak demand in buildings. Used in conjunction with clean energy generation and whole-building efficiency measures, the benefits of using heat pumps increase substantially.”