Renewables and tax credits were the topics of discussion during a meeting at HARDI headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

The Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International’s HVAC Systems and Equipment Council’s renewable subcouncil met Dec. 7, 2012, to tackle the future of geothermal energy and the viability of other renewable sources.

The meeting was hosted by Larry Trimbach, vice president of sales and marketing for 2J Supply in Dayton, Ohio, and chairman of the subcouncil. The main topic of the meeting was how the tax credits drive consumer interest in renewables and what will happen when the tax credits end.

“Two years ago, this wasn’t even a viable piece of our business, so it’s good to see guys who are eight or 10 years ahead of us in attendance,” Trimbach said.

While there was a mix of members, the group as a whole didn’t show much confidence in most renewables and decided that a focus on geothermal equipment would be more beneficial to the council, according to HARDI.

“It takes a lot for a distributor to get into serious geothermal heat pump sales, from actually having a champion to push the sales, to the various forms of training, both sales and technical to the stocking items required, and to be taken seriously in the market place,” said Russ Geary, vice president of California-based Geary Pacific Supply. “It’s my plan to get with my senior management team and review what I learned in an effort to fully evaluate our position as a geothermal heat pump distributor.”

When 2016 arrives and the 30 percent tax credit for geothermal equipment expires, Trimbach predicted it will impact sales heavily. Without the tax credit, interest in pursuing renewable energy equipment may dissipate, he said.

But Lou Rasmussen, president of Heat Controller Inc., doesn’t think tax credits will have that negative of an impact on consumer interest in renewables.

“We need to focus on training and educating our members on renewables. We need more outreach to HARDI members,” he said. “The meeting was informative, the right mix. Everyone was very inclusive and shared a lot of great information.