LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Bosch Thermotechnology signed an agreement with Orca Energy, a U.S.-based geothermal utility provider located in Seattle. The agreement was signed at the annual International Ground Source Heat Pump Association's Technical Conference and Expo held in Las Vegas. Both companies have decided to jointly market a geothermal infrastructure-equipment solution to developers, homebuilders, and prospective new homeowners in the United States.

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.

According to Bosch, the agreement to collaborate in the U.S. marketplace solves the geothermal industry question, "How do we overcome builder and homeowner resistance to the initial capital cost barrier of installing the ground heat exchanger?"

“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,” said Richard Soper, president of Bosch Thermotechnology 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.”

To address this, 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. Accoding to Orca, 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 is said to help provide 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 is the perfect partner for us in the United States,” said 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.”

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.

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