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 May 30, 2018
Alphabet Startup Heats Your Home From a Hole in the Ground

 Dandelion Energy Inc., a company that emerged out of Alphabet Inc.'s X incubator last year, says its custom-designed drilling rig and pump systems will help make geothermal heating more affordable to homeowners.

The Brooklyn-based company expects to begin drilling wells in June for heating and cooling systems that will cost less than $20,000. That's about half the price of typical residential geothermal energy installations available today, according to Chief Technology Officer James Quazi.

Residential geothermal heating is uncommon, in part because the expense and effort to dig the wells make them costly to install in existing homes. Dandelion's drill was designed to address this, and its system uses lightweight pumping equipment from Aaon Inc. that can also reduce installation times. It extracts underground heat to keep homes warm in the winter and also provide air conditioning in the summer. The company is already marketing the technology in parts of New York state.

"We have a backlog of about 50 clients that signed up since last fall," Quazi said in an interview. "We'll begin our first installations in June."

A typical 2,500 square-foot (232 square-meter) home using heating oil in the Hudson Valley region can save about 20 percent from its annual energy bill, he said. The company plans to lease the systems for $135 a month over 20 years. New York provides a one-time state incentive for geothermal homes that offsets the cost by at least $3,000, depending on size.

The Dandelion systems use aluminum components instead of steel, and are manufactured in a highly automated process that reduces costs, said Katie Ullmann, a spokeswoman for the geothermal company.