Green

LVestus grabs $750M for no-money-down geothermal

Though geothermal energy is hardly common at the moment, one company is looking to change that — by offering geothermal heating and cooling systems for no money down.

LVestus Energy announced today it had secured $750 million in initial project funding from Sundance Capital Group.

The company offers a purchase agreement program called GeoTPA (thermal purchase agreement) that allows municipalities, schools, buildings and property owners to install geothermal ground source heat pumps that can replace buildings’ heating and cooling expenses. The GeoTPA program looks similar to a popular financing model recently deployed by fuel cell maker Bloom Energy and several rooftop solar leasing companies, except LVestus says what it offers isn’t a lease so much as a utility-like contract.

LVestus says the cash it has raised will go towards installing structures called geothermal loop fields that are used to extract heat from the ground in winter and reject heat in the summer (pictured, below).

As we’ve written before, geothermal energy is rarely in the limelight when it comes to cleantech and has sometimes attracted the ire of environmentalists. It is, however, a renewable resource when managed correctly and has been mentioned in recent rhetoric from the government about the country’s renewable energy future.

As in the solar model, geothermal customers of LVestus sign a 15- or 25-year power purchase agreement that lock in rates at today’s prices, the terms of which are partially made favorable by a 10 percent federal tax credit for the geothermal installation. The company says the net result is that customers can use geothermal energy and pay less than they would to install a fossil fuel-based system.

“Given the recent price instability in the energy sector, municipalities, institutions and corporate customers are seeking energy alternatives that provide affordable, stable and predictable long-term energy costs,” said Michael Bowen, chairman of Sundance Capital, in a statement. “We saw such an alternative in LVestus Energy, a company that is going to be a tremendously innovative player in the geothermal market. ”

The company only does vertical installations, which minimizes real estate used. It only does commercial installations at this time but plans to expand to residential projects in 2012.

[Top image via Fotopedia]