When it came right down to it, I wasn't able to put down the money. For a new geothermal system, that is. The bid was about $30,000. That price would have been offset by a $10,000 tax credit, for a total cost of (if my math is correct) about $20,000.
We signed the contract, opened a line of credit at a local bank, but at the last moment we called off the project. It would have greatly lowered our carbon footprint. Other concerns trumped green heat: the need to construct a new deck on our home, two aging automobiles, and uncertainty with my wife's employment situation.
It makes me wonder now if I'm going to be able to pull the trigger on a Chevy Volt purchase. I've been waiting years to buy this car, but at $40,000 (before tax breaks) its just beyond our grasp.
Even if our hearts are in the right place, and even if we really want to embrace new technologies that will help lower our carbon foot prints, eventually we will have to come face to face with that price tag. In my case, as a middle-class who cares about the earth, I wasn't able to do it.
Uncertainty about the future is the first problem: I wasn't able to take on additional financial risk while not having great confidence in the future.
High prices were the second problem. Even with a government tax rebate, the price was just too high for us.
We will continue saving, and will re-evaluate the geothermal heat this summer. But one thing I've learned... I can't make these kinds of significant financial decisions on a whim, even if I desperate want to adopt and help these green technologies. The prices simply must come down.