New York changes

Discussion in 'Tax Credits, Rebates and Incentives' started by zach, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

  2. DRN

    DRN New Member

    I am a huge proponent of geothermal heating systems. That being said, let me state that this ruling is the correct one. Despite the enormous amount of misinformation, the majority of geothermal heat energy is ground source, and not solar-sourced (hence even the name!!). Sure, there is a solar component, but it is clearly not the major player in the technology.

    The purpose of the law was evident: conversion of solar energy (insolation) into usable energy. If a law is partly ambiguous based on a loose definition, then people shouldn't take advantage of it (spirit, not letter). After all, if this were to be accepted, shouldn't we then allow this credit for everything for which the sun's energy is ultimately responsible? Oil is produced over time, and, ultimately, it is made from the sun's energy. Clearly, such a claim would have qualify as an abuse of the system. Frankly, this was too much of a stretch for this...
  3. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I strongly disagree.
    Studies have shown that 49% of the entire solar radiation is absorbed by the earth (or the water), 51% get reflected into space.
    The geothermal gradient in the U.S. in the earth crust is very consistently 1 degree F per 70ft of depth (unless you are in an area with a very thin earth crust, like yellowstone, not the case in NYS. The ground temperature above 500ft follows the solar gradient meaning it is around 50F close to the Canadian border, 60F in the Carolinas, 70F in northern Florida, 80F in Key West, depending on the amount of solar energy getting absorbed by the ground.

    Many federal and state agencies, Industry expert groups including the International Ground source heat pump association and the geoheat center of the United States, including and all available scientific studies or publications all state that the source energy for ground source heat pumps in actually solar, and that the word geothermal is actually a misnomer, one reason the terminology has changes from geothermal systems to ground source heat pump systems. To make it clear, there is not a single scientific study stating otherwise, every one states that this technology is driven by solar radiation. Where would you think the energy 5ft down in a horizontal loop in your front yard is coming from? It is not Magma!

    NYS has amended in 2005 the solar tax credit which was available only to solar PV to allow other solar technologies to come forward " be used for heating, and conditioning and hot water." The only requirement in the statue was that it uses solar radiation, but does not have to do so exclusively.

    But also in a practical manner, how could you heat you house or hot water in NYS during the night or during cold spans with cloud cover, or snow on top of your roof covering your solar system. This law does not make any sense if it does not include solar systems which utilizes stored solar energy which get transported from the stored medium (ground) to the house when needed.
    How does that differ from a array of pipes on your roof, a circulation pump pumping the water trough, and you collecting the water in storage tanks in your house? Would that system qualify for the solar credit?
  4. DRN

    DRN New Member

    What a spectacular level of misinformation you gave. I wont attempt to prove you entirely wrong with all of your "facts". I will quickly point out one major error, however:

    Earth's average albedo value is ~30%, not 51% as you claim. (Ref. This means that approximately 30% of the sun's radiation is reflected directly. The Earth absorbs approximately 51% of insolation taken as an average over the whole globe.

    You also managed to prove your own argument incorrect. You openly admit that the Earth gets hotter as one goes deeper (your claim is 1 °F/70 ft). The deeper one goes, the further from the effects of the sun one would be. So, how could the sun be responsible for such an increase? It cannot be. (Ref. Heat Pumps, Energy Management and Conservation Handbook)

    Where does the energy come from? Well, it is coming from the Earth's interior, which is believed to be consisting of nuclear decay processes which slowly release heat energy, which dribbles up through the surface. (Ref.

    You claim that the sun is responsible? Well, interesting that we have this thing called a "frost line", whereby the temperature, be at 36, 48, 60 inches in depth (or whatever) is the point at which the sun's heating effect effectively stops (not completely, no, but mostly). Below that line is the depth at which the sun does not heat significantly throughout the year, and the heat loss during the winter at that depth is not sufficient to allow for complete freezing. Below this "line", the temperature is controlled almost exclusively through geothermal process, and not solar-based ones. If it were truly solar based, then one could not explain the existence of a frost line. This is the reason that geothermal heating systems are installed below the ground, where the effects of cooling and heating (seasonal) are not felt. Now, obviously the effects of the sun's energy does not stop at the frost line. However, the effect does not go infinitely deep either. Generally speaking, the effects of the sun's radiation stops entirely by the ~30 ft depth mark (Ref.

    Obviously, one would not install a geothermal heating system only a foot or two underground, because the temperature is not near constancy. Instead, it would be too hot during summer, and too cold during winter to allow for functional use. To overcome this problem, the lines are dug much deeper to the point where solar energy is not the main driver, but rather, the heat source is geothermal in origin. Consider, for example, vertical loops. The deeper they go, the more they tap into true geothermal heat, and get away from the per annum fickle effects of the sun. The closer to the surface that a geothermal system were to be built, then it would tap "into a greater percentage of the sun's energy". In such a hypothetical case, one could absolutely make the argument that a major contributor (if not the largest) energy source is directly from solar radiation. However, that is not how real systems function. Vertical systems tap almost entirely into geothermal energy, whereas more shallow systems tap moreso into solar energy, but also into geothermal-based energy.

    It is possible to obtain geothermal heating in very northern latitudes where permafrost exists. In such locations, solar heating has no effect on the system, and it is entirely geothermal in nature (Ref.

    BTW, magma is the "ultimate" thermal release of the Earth's interior heat energy. It is a found in a place where geothermal energy is released rapidly due to a ruptured crust (near tectonic edges), where the rate of heat transfer is not slowed.

    You made the following erroneous claim: "...all available scientific studies or publications all state that the source energy for ground source heat pumps in actually solar." As someone who is actually a scientist (I have a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry) it hurts when people try to make such all-encompassing claims. Let me just offer a few examples of a number of scientific bodies and scientific studies which would dispute your claim:

    Union of Concerned Scientists (Ref.
    US Federal Government (Ref.
    Article from Energies (Ref.
    Article from Geothermics (Ref.
    Article from Energyt Policy (Ref.
    Book: Geothermal Energy Utilization and Technology (ISBN-13 978-1-84407-184-5)
    National Geographic (Ref.
    Geothermal Education Office (Ref.
  5. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Growing up in Northern Lorain County, I know the guys that thought up PVC and CPVC and other stuff. I tend to prefer organics to petrochemical. I doubt that they are desperate, just looked at from different directions.

    Warm regards,

  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Well, this is interesting. Lets check the facts

    The very creditable NASA reference you site clearly states that 51% of solar radiation gets absorbed in the earth's crust (ok, I was referring older data suggesting 49%), so how is that misleading. 30% gets directly reflected, and the remainder is also absorbed (for example by clouds, the earths surface) but emitted back to space to space via long wave thermal energy. Interesting it also clear that the amount reflection is variable between 84% with ice cover and 16% with a dark green tree canopy. So what was misleading in my statement?

    So you give a reference about the existence of geothermal energy from the decay process of the earth. That was the whole point was that I pointed out that the earth crust temp increases via an increase of the effect of true geothermal energy deep down, but only by 1 degree F for every 70F of depth, not enough to heat your house. A 400ft deep borehole (and we usually do not go deeper than 500 ft) with an average depth of 200ft only gains 3 degrees in temperature via true geothermal heat, whereas a loop 5-6 ft down has almost no geothermal heat component, it is all solar

    The frost line is established by the amount of seasonal fluctuation in solar energy absorption, when the amount of heat absorbed by the earth is less than the amount edited into space, mostly due to the less sunshine, higher reflection due to snow cover, and lesser angle to the sun resulting in a higher reflection rate. The reference you cite actually shows the opposite than what you state. First figure 3 an 4 show the seasonal fluctuation of ground temperature depending on depth, and the amplitude of seasonal soil temperature change indicating that below 30ft the earth temps are not influenced by 12 months swings in outside air temperature. However, figure 2 is the important one which clearly shows that the deep ground temperature as measured in deep wells follow the solar gradient, meaning the further south we are and the higher the amount of solar radiation absorbed in the ground the warmer the deep earth temperatures. Do we have more amount of true geothermal heat coming from the center of the earth the further south we go, or do we have more solar radiation absorbed in the ground in Florida than we have in Alaska?

    This discussion should be over now. Specifically when you did not understand that the 30ft depth means a lack of seasonal amplitude swing and not a lack of the effect of long term solar effect on soil temperature, when this striking effect is actually is displayed in figure #2. So you completely misrepresented what you scientific fact is, and even misrepresented what you reference showed.
  7. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    No true. Again, the reference you cite summarizes the current state of a few ground source heat pump in the state of Alaska, and reports the challenges in cold climate and permafrost. To summarize, they don't work very well there for heating. Do we have lesser true geothermal in Alaska than we have in New York State? No, but we have lesser solar radiation absorbed in the ground, and therefore it does not work at all, or works very inefficient (low COP) dues to the very cold ground.

    Again, your reference cited does not support your claim, the opposite is the case.

    Lets check the rest of your scientific publications you cite which you state dispute my claim:

    Union of Concerned Scientists (Ref.

    A summary about true geothermal energy and its potential use. It is not a scientific evidence nor a study. No idea who wrote it. Most of the references cite true geothermal energy, although there is a paragraph about ground source heat pumps in which the authors gets many facts wrong and confuses the ground source heat pump technology with true geothermal energy.

    US Federal Government (Ref.

    Yes, a plain summary about ground source heat pumps on the website. No mention what the source of the energy is, nor a scientific study.

    Article from Energies (Ref.

    John Lund is the co founder of the geoheat institute out of Oregon and focuses on true geothermal energy reports but mixes ground source heat pumps into the reports, without any scientific evidence that they are actually driven by geothermal. He arbitratetivly picked a depth of 100ft to differentiate between solar driven and geothermal driven systems in other publications (again without evidence).

    In another paper he he focuses on ground source heat pumps.

    "The temperature of the ground and ground water below 100 feet is controlled by the geothermal gradient and thus are considered geothermal. The horizontal earth coupled and surface pond systems are influenced by solar radiation due to their shallow placement."

    Interestingly in the same publication he publishes the map showing the deep well temperature in the U.S. following the solar radiation gradient.

    Article from Geothermics (Ref.

    Also an article from John Lund. Same as above.
  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Article from Energyt Policy (Ref.


    With several mid-term policies in place to support the development of renewables, the European Union (EU) seems on its way to increasing the share of renewable energy to the targeted 12% by the year 2010. It is however, yet unclear how effective these policies are, which technologies will see the largest growth and which countries will indeed be able to meet their targets. This article discusses a monitoring protocol that was developed to monitor this effectiveness and judge whether targets will be met. In a step-wise approach policy instruments are characterised and analysed, leading to a quantitative assessment of the likely growth in renewable energy production for each individual technology and country in case no policy changes occur. Applying this monitoring protocol at the EU-level we show that with the current policies in place renewable energy production will reach a share of 8–10% in 2010, and the share of electricity production will reach a level of 15–18% of total electricity consumption, whereas the target is 22.5%. Additional policies are clearly needed to achieve the ambitious targets set."

    Really? A scientific article disputing the claim that the source energy for GSHPs is solar?

    Book: Geothermal Energy Utilization and Technology (ISBN-13 978-1-84407-184-5)

    "The book is developed over nine chapters, the first of which provides an exhaustive overview of geothermal energy and the scientific and technological state of the art, as well as acting as a framework and reference point for the chapters that follow. Chapter 2 covers the generation of electricity, while Chapters 3 to 7 deals with the various non-electric uses of geothermal energy (district heating, space cooling, green- house heating, aquaculture and industrial applications). Chapter 8 discusses the environmental impact of geothermal energy, and, finally, Chapter 9 provides a complete review of the economic, financial and legal aspects of geothermal proj- ects. The reader will find many stimulating case histories and practical examples throughout these chapters. "

    Sounds like a lot of true geothermal application again. Any scientific evidence for GSHPs not utilizing solar radiation?

    National Geographic (Ref.

    A write up about geothermal in general. A section about ground source heat pumps is included. Any science? Any disputing evidence?

    Geothermal Education Office (Ref.

    A write up about geothermal in general. A section about ground source heat pumps is included. Any science? Any disputing evidence?

    So you go on the internet, make a quick search, either you did not read the articles or did not understand them, portrait them here as evidence and did not realize that they either have no scientific evidence at all or actually support everything I have stated in my previous post.

    For one who has a Ph.D. and calls himself an actual scientist (we need to have a serious talk with your thesis adviser) you have displayed nothing but poor scientific analysis and reasoning. More importantly you have portrait some of the references as the opposite of what they actually show and provide evidence for, which is nothing but scientific dishonesty, or at the very least you attempted to create the perception that they contain scientific evidence when they do not.

    Not sure what to think of you here. You certainly have a long way to go to get your credibility back.
  9. DRN

    DRN New Member

    Something that we typically observe in science is that people tend to be quite biased - especially those who have a vested financial interest (as you do). I gave you facts along with references, and you don't accept them. That is certainly your choice, and you are welcome to say or do as you please.

    It is also fairly sad that, rather than having a serious discussion, you instead turn to the age-old technique of insulting. As I just stated, you are welcome to believe whatever you want, but as soon as you start with insults, unfounded statements, assumptions {such as I performed an internet search, as opposed to simply drawing knowledge from my background [which, BTW, I have a second B.S. degree in geology, and a minor in cosmology; combined with my fairly extensive chemical scale-up background (which requires me to have a very extensive knowledge of thermal and fluid transfer processes, as well as a good understanding of engineering principles) gives me ample certification to speak on these matters] and actually reading the literature. Frankly, it is simply not worth my time to try to argue with someone who is not willing to carry out a conversation with someone like you.

    Again, I welcome you to believe whatever you would like, and wish you the very best.
  10. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    No question people who have a certain expertise in an area are usually conflicted since they earn their income in that field, but that does not automatically means that they apply bias. Remaining an objectivity is part what scientific integrity is all about.

    I happen to have a couple doctorate degrees myself, but I am usually discrete about it and don't brag about it in this forum here. In that role I am also peer reviewer for a couple dozens scientific journals where I apply my expertise in a certain field to judge the scientific validity of studies done by there people. Once in a while someone comes by who is trying to turn established scientific knowledge upside down (which is desired since science advances through novelty), but without scientific data supporting it, and citing scientific references, which when examined with the then warranted scrutiny lack merit to support the notions of the authors, making them scientifically invalid. Rarely someone comes by citing references which actually support the opposite of what the authors try to portrait with them, which is which is what I call dishonest.

    Catching you doing this was easy since you followed the same pattern. Your listing of degrees and knowledge you claim you have is a typical attempt to add credibility to the statements you made, but does not make them right. The fact is that now that everyone can check them and judge themselves.

    In terms of rhetorics, may I remind you that I simply disagreed with you and age you the reasons why. No insults, nothing.
    You responded by the following statement I took a bit of offense of:
    1) calling it a "spectacular level of misinformation"
    2) Stating that you "... wont attempt to prove you entirely wrong with all of your "facts". "
    3) Stating that you are "...actually a scientist (I have a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry) it hurts when people try to make such all-encompassing claims."

    Fact is that the NASA reference you cited is in full agreement of what I stated, namely that roughly 50% of the solar radiation globally is absorbed in the earth's crust, and shows that it is even significantly more if the surface is not ice or water but tree and plant covered areas like New York State.

    When I referred to the geothermal gradient being only about 1F/70ft, you were wondering how the sun could be responsible for such an increase? It is not, it is the increased effect of geothermal the further down one goes.

    Then you give us a reference discussing where geothermal energy comes from. Nuclear decay deep in the earth. I could not agree more.

    Then you argue that the sun does not heat the earth beyond the frost line, you then state that below the frost line the temperature is almost entirely controlled by geothermal.
    You cite a reference which clearly shows that deep well temperature measurements throughout the United States follow the amount of solar energy absorbed, with northern States have much lower deep ground temperatures than southern states.
    You also state that the effect of the sun entirely stops by the 30ft mark, when your reference clearly shows that the amplitude swing of the effect of outside temperature between summer and winter gets less with depth and stops at 30ft, but not the effect of solar radiation on deep ground temperature.

    While it is possible to obtain true geothermal heating in very northern latitudes (Island), but in contrast ground source heat pumps do not very well where permafrost exists, cannot carry a large load, work very inefficient and for that reason are very limited in numbers (the are able to extract heat below the freezing mark, but do not work very well then). The reference you cite discusses those challenges of operating those systems in geographic regions with lesser solar radiation absorbed in the ground, but with the same amount of true geothermal energy available in the upper as in NYS. The point was that without sufficient solar gain, the systems work poorly or not at all and for that reason are very limited in numbers, as discussed in your reference.

    The remaining articles you cited written by journalists (not scientific) which mostly reporting about true geothermal and mixed in paragraphs about ground source heat pumps into their overview, which happens frequently when people don't understand the fundamental differences between ground source heat pumps technology an true geothermal technology.

    Yes, 2 articles by John Lund, who is an associate and founder of the geo heat center in Oregon, who had arbitratively picked 100ft depth as the border between geothermal and solar, without any concrete scientific evidence for that. But even he refers to the deep ground temperature data showing that the temperatures follow the amount of solar radiation absorbed in the ground.

    Since you find it sad to not have a scientific discussion, here I challenge you:
    Lets cut out the rhetoric, lets cut out the listing of degrees, lets follow data and scientific evidence.

    Please provide scientific evidence that ground source heat pumps installed in NYS do not utilize solar radiation, which is the issue at stake in regards to the tax credits.

    I would go even further to say that GSHPs get the majority of their source energy from solar in NYS. Please, proof me wrong.
  11. richard kellogg

    richard kellogg New Member

    The same could be said about air sourced heat pumps (the heat stored in the air comes from the sun). Do you think they should be eligible for the solar credit in NYS?
  12. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The way the statue is written there is no limitation on the medium the heat is transferred through. SO yes, I think they should be eligible.
  13. DRN

    DRN New Member

    Again, I entirely disagree with you regarding the geothermal, and I will not address it further here. However, I will point out, that, ultimately, all oil and gas is ultimately produced on Earth through the energy of the sun as well. Shouldn't we then, by your logic, also provide this tax credit for them?
  14. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You could take it that far. Again, it is up to the legislature to define the statue and provide limitations to ensure their intend is covered by the language.
    Up to 2005, there was only solar PV supported, but the statue was amended to ensure that other solar technologies, specifically solar thermal, could come forward and are supported by the tax credit.

    "Summary of Provisions:

    Section 1 of the bill amends section 606 of the Personal Income Tax Law to expand the types

    of equipment eligible for the solar electricity generating equipment credit to include residential

    heating and/or cooling, and water heating. The term for this collective list of eligible

    components is changed from "solar electric generating equipment" to "solar energy system


    The above text summarizes the provision for the 2005 amendment. Could you give me an example what kind of non PV equipment would fulfill the task of residential heating and/or cooling, and water heating, in the middle of the winter in NYS, if it would be heat pump technology, utilizing stored solar radiation.

    Still waiting for you to provide scientific evidence as asked for above. No rhetoric, no listing of degrees, only data and scientific evidence....
  15. Doug Stansbury

    Doug Stansbury New Member

    You mentioned in your April 10 post that there were 3 cases pending on the NY tax credit. I see they have unfortunately ruled (unfavorably for GSHP owners) in Carlos Li's case. Any word on the other two cases? I claimed the credit in 2014 and have not been audited on it yet and hope not to. However, it would be nice to have a favorable ruling to back it up if it does happen. I have read all of the posts in this thread and I completely agree with your position. Do you happen to know how often or what percentage of these credits are being audited?
  16. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Carlos' case is going to the Tribunal, with the other 2 cases we don't expect a ruling before the end of the year.

    I suspect that this is more political than anything else.

    No idea about the audit rate. I'll keep everyone posted as soon as I know more which is not confidential for some reason.
  17. Chris Contento

    Chris Contento New Member

    All - It is getting close to tax season again. Anyone have any updates w/re: to the NY tax credit and the outcomes of the other pending cases? Anyone who is currently under audit have any advice for someone who is on the fence about it? Is it worth the effort?
  18. the blur

    the blur Member

    It's done & over with. Cumo vetoed it, and I never took the credit. It's not worth being audited with penalties & interest.
  19. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We seem to talking about 2 different things.

    Cu0mo vetoed a new the bill that geo is getting a separate tax credit, apart from solar, because it was not in the budget.

    The issue above is whether geo qualified under the existing solar tax credit.
  20. the blur

    the blur Member

    If 1 person lost, doesn't that set the precedent for everyone else ?

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