Ehrhart Energy of Trumansburg is one of the local businesses serving customers looking to invest in renewable energy solutions like wood pellet stoves or wood pellet boilers. With the help of NYSERDA incentives through the Renewable Heat NY program, local residents have saved thousands of dollars on wood pellet heating systems purchased at Ehrhart and other local heating contractors.
JT Salzer, a Sales Representative at Ehrhart focusing on wood pellet stoves, says that wood pellet stoves provide a lot of benefits for people switching from other heating sources.
“Pellet stoves are very easy to operate and they run on cleaner, renewable energy instead of burning traditional cordwood or fossil fuels,” JT said. “[Pellet stoves] also create a nice atmosphere inside the home and some of them have a very nice look to them, so it's both a good heating source and it provides a nice ambiance to the room.”
Pellet stoves are a particularly good option currently due to the Renewable Heat NY program administered by NYSERDA. This state program offers discounts on wood pellet stoves or pellet boilers based on household income or recycling an older wood-burning system in your home. JT says that the pellet stove incentives currently available can make wood pellet heating a reasonable investment for many families.
“Being able to take advantage of the incentives available right now and being able to get a stove that can keep your house warm for many years is an awesome opportunity.,” he said. “Whatever your income, you might as well take a look at what we have available. I have a customer who ended up paying $1,300 out of pocket as opposed to what normally would have been $2,800 or $3,000 because of all the incentives.”
This incentive has made the difference between buying a wood pellet stove or not buying a wood pellet stove for multiple customers, according to JT. Ehrhart has sold roughly twenty pellet stoves through the program, with interest picking up as more and more people hear about the benefits possible through the program.
“[Renewable Heat NY] is a great opportunity for Ehrhart and it makes it easy on the customer too,” JT said. “We can take the amount off up front on their bill so it’s a lot less stress on the customer; they don’t have to worry about coming up with such a large amount of money up front and we can sell more stoves. It benefits both sides.”
Incentives for pellet boilers are also available under Renewable Heat New York. Kris Loomis, an Erhart Sales Representative working with pellet boilers, says that 45% of the cost of a pellet boiler can be covered by the program, with an additional $2,500 for recycling a wood furnace or $5,000 for recycling a wood boiler available.
Kris says that pellet boilers can be a great step towards lower energy use and costs, especially for individuals who have already taken other measures around their home.
“I’ve noticed that we’re visiting a lot of houses that have installed solar panels. So they’ve taken that first step and are now looking to go a step further,” Kris said. “The majority of people are able to embrace these biomass systems because of these incentives in combination with their desire to reduce their energy footprint.”
Kris says that interest in pellet boilers has picked up lately, with Ehrhart having received seven orders under the incentive program. [Read about Don & Rita's pellet boiler story here.]
Kris points to Ehrhart Energy's investment in a bulk pellet delivery system as an upcoming development that could increase the ease of use and convenience of pellet heating in Tompkins County.
“We’re in the process of building a 70 ton bulk pellet facility that will make it easier for people to move forward with biomass energy in the area,” Kris said. “[Customers install] a bulk hopper outside so that our delivery truck can pull up at the start of winter and make a large pellet delivery.”
With such a system, customers could either manually feed the pellets into their pellet stove or invest in a hopper that automatically feeds pellets into the pellet boiler or stove, eliminating the need to buy and store bags of pellets.
Kris says that there is an emerging trend of area residents discovering the benefits of switching to a pellet-based system like a boiler or stove.
“There is strong interest in these kinds of systems, especially in our area where a lot of people want to move to renewable energy,” Kris said. “Pellet heating is, generally, carbon neutral and allows people to get off of fossil fuels.”
This growing awareness, combined with the significant incentives available to New York residents, has made switching to pellet-based heating systems a feasible possibility for many Tompkins County residents.
Visit the Get Your Greenback page on renewable heat for more information on incentives in Tompkins County, the NYSERDA Renewable Heat NY page for more specific information on income eligibility and trade-in policies, and the Ehrhart Energy site to learn more about their products and services.