Lawmakers push tax breaks for geothermal energy

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – “Green energy” has become big business with the help of tax incentives to convert to solar and wind power. Now state lawmakers want to give the same kind of boost to geothermal energy–which is derived from the Earth.

Geothermal energy comes from the sun, is stored in the ground, and can be used to heat and cool your home or business, or even place of worship.

In Western New York, once you get down to about 6 ft. underground, the temperature stays close to a constant 60 degrees.

At that temperature, you can cool a house or building in summer, and heat your home in the winter, as Maxine Murphy is doing at her home on Buffalo’s Westside.

She has a geothermal heat pump installed in the crawl space under her house, on Winter Street. The system utilizes liquid flowing through underground pipes buried in the lot next door.

Maxine’s geothermal heat pump is a project of PUSH Buffalo, and is the first of its kind on the Westside.

“Geothermal is great, when it worked, and I am quite sure they are working on perfecting that system.”

The upfront cost for all that geothermal equipment can be expensive, about $15,000 to $20,000. So state lawmakers passed a measure providing a 25% tax credit towards installation.

Buffalo Assemblyman Sean Ryan and North Tonawanda State Senator Robert Ortt held a news conference at Murphy’s home, urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the legislation into law.

Bill Nowak, Executive Director for NY-GEO said, the geothermal tax credits would be similar to incentives offered for solar and wind energy, and have a federal match.

“On the federal level, there is a 30% tax credit for both geothermal and solar. In New York state now there is up to a $5,000 tax credit for solar, and this legislation will bring in place for geothermal, as well.”

If the governor signs off, those incentives would take effect in September, and supporters say create more “green jobs”. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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