Local Heat Pump Program is Taking Off

By Emily Compton

Geothermal Exchange systems are a modern heating and cooling technology that surpasses most traditional and alternative systems by simply moving heat from its source to another area. In the heating mode, GeoExchange extracts energy from the earth—typically using a buried water loop—and moves it indoors. In the summer, GeoExchange moves heat from indoors into the relatively cool earth via a water loop. The result in both seasons is that less energy is needed than with conventional air-to-air heat pumps, natural gas or oil heating systems.

Heat pumps are a proven alternative to standard heating and cooling systems. They provide 3 to 4 times more energy than they consume in electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Compared to electric resistance heaters, air-source heat pumps typically use 3,000 less kilowatt-hours a year (or almost $500), according to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership. Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District

Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District

NSAQMD Rebates

Wood Stove Change Out Program The Northern Sierra Air Management District was formed in 1986 when the Air Pollution Control Districts of Nevada, Plumas and Sierra counties merged. The air district is required by state law to achieve and maintain the federal and state ambient air quality standards, which are air quality standards set at levels to protect public health.

The air district is offering a change-out program to qualified homeowners within the Greater Portola PM2.5 Non-attainment Area in Plumas County, California, for replacement of non-EPA certified wood stoves with new, efficient, cleaner burning EPA-certified devices. This program is funded by the U.S. EPA’s 2015, 2018 and 2020 Targeted Airshed Grant Programs, the district’s AB2766 program and other programs.

Wood smoke creates exposure to elevated PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in smoke) concentrations, which can result in negative health impacts, including eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, congestion, coughing, impaired lung function and chest pain, especially among sensitive individuals such as the elderly, children, people with asthma, people with heart or lung conditions, pregnant women and anyone who is exercising or working hard outdoors The grant allotments are determined by what zone your home is in and what type of heating device you are installing. Qualifying households must have an old, installed and qualifying wood heating device in order to participate in the wood stove change out program.

Eligibility: Open to all renters or owners regardless of income, who currently have an old, qualifying wood-burning heating device used as their primary source of heat and who live in the Greater Portola area.

  • Must currently have an installed, operating and qualified wood-burning stove (at least 20 years old for a wood stove or 10 years old to replace for pellet, kerosene, propane or electric heat option) or fireplace. The wood-heating device must be used as the primary source of heat in order to participate in the wood stove change out program.
  • Must submit a completed application to be considered for the program. Applications will be disqualified:
  • If the old device is removed from the home prior to application approval.
  • If the new certified device is purchased before application approval.
  • If any information on the application is false or incomplete.
  • Installation must be completed by a district-approved retailer.
  • The approved contractors for this program are: Integrity Heating and Air, Heat Transfer Systems, Quincy Hot Spot and Wolf Creek Woodstoves.


Map or all zones included in Nothern Sierra Air Quality Management District change out program. Includes communities of Iron Horse, C Road, Mohawk Vista, Plumas-Eureka, Blairsdengraeagle, Gold Mountain, Whitehawk, Clio and Johnsville.

The air district is holding a wood stove event on Earth Day, April 22, at the Veterans Hall in Portola from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will focus on the benefits of upgrading home heating devices to reduce emissions and will feature keynote speaker John Crouch from the Hearth Patio and Barbeque Association. John will explain the benefits of burning season wood and why operating wood stoves properly is important to reduce emissions and improve efficiency.

There will also be local heat pump installers at the event.

The air district will be raffling off 3 one-cord woodsheds and have applications and information available for participants to pick up. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

For more information, call (530) 832-0102 or email My Air District.

PSREC Heat Pump Programs

PSREC Heat Pump Rebates

Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative offers 2 types of incentives to encourage the installation of GeoExchange systems, a highly efficient, renewable energy technology, in member homes and businesses.

There are 2 major components to a GeoExchange system: the heat pump and air-ducting portion, and the in-ground water loop well system. “Loop Loans” are available to members for the exterior loop portion of the GeoExchange system.

These loans bring down the upfront cost of the system and help you invest in a sustainable heating and cooling system without having to look for financing or pay interest. Members can borrow a maximum of $15,000, interest-free 15-year loan. This excludes members taking advantage instead of the PSREC HVAC rebate option. Members participating in the loan program can receive a 50% discount on a Rheem Marathon water heater.

Other rebate options available to PSREC members is the HVAC rebate option. See the chart below for more information on rebate requirements and amounts.

Federal Tax Credits

In August 2022, the 30% tax credit for geothermal heat pump installations was extended through 2032 and can be retroactively applied to installations “placed in service” on January 1, 2022, or later.

The tax credit will drop to 26% in 2033. To qualify for the tax credit, the geothermal equipment must meet Energy Star requirements at the time of installation and be used for both heating and cooling. Additionally, there is no limitation on the number of times the credit can be claimed, so non-primary residences are still eligible. Building permits may be required for energy-efficiency projects. Contact your local building department prior to beginning work.

We encourage your participation in PSREC’s program and look forward to continuing to offer our members a variety of energy efficiency rebates. Visit our Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative website or call (530) 832-4261 to learn more.