Google X geothermal energy company opens Windsor warehouse


WINDSOR — Connecticut residents tired of paying for aging air conditioning and heating systems in their homes have a new alternative — energy from the heat stored within the ground.

Dandelion Energy, a nationwide geothermal energy company, expanded operations into Connecticut earlier this year. The product, a heating pump that replaces the furnace and gets attached to tubes that are put hundreds of feet into the ground to collect heat from the earth, was born out of Google X in 2017 by co-founder Kathy Hannun.

X Development is a research and development organization run by Google.


“Geothermal has been around in the US for decades,” Hannun said. “It’s just been a very niche and generally quite expensive solution. What Dandelion is doing is scaling it up, simplifying it and just making it much more cost effective.”

The concept of geothermal energy might still be “niche” in Connecticut, because there are few workers trained in the drilling and installation of the products, slowing the company’s ability to have widespread impact. Dandelion warehouse, which officially opened Monday in Windsor, employs 12 people, but there are only two crews trained in installation so far.

While 90 residents already have the system installed in their homes, there are 300 more who have signed a contract and are waiting for installation.

Luzmila Fonseca decided to sign a contract to transition her home in Berlin to geothermal, but she’s been waiting since January for installation.

“I know I will save a lot of money,” Fonseca said. “I pay a over $1,000 a month for oil. It’s good for the air, it’s good for a lot of stuff.”

Fonseca said the $31,000 installation cost will be worth it because of the money she will save monthly on oil. She’s paying for installation in monthly installments of about $160.

“Eventually one day, it will be mine when I pay off the costs and it will increase the value of the house,” Fonseca said.

Earlier this year, Dandelion bought Glacier Drilling, a Durham company. The installation of a Dandelion pump requires trained crews, like those from Glacier, to drill holes sometimes as deep as 500 feet. Then, tubes can be connected to a pump, which range in size based on the home.

Antowne Caravallo, of East Hartford, runs the warehouse in Windsor. He gave customers, prospective customers and energy industry leaders a tour of the warehouse Monday.

One day, Caravallo hopes to be part of the crew that goes out to install the pumps. Hannun said a lot of the training for the job happens through apprenticeship or learning from those with more experience.

Forbes reported in 2020 that Dandelion was causing problems for homeowners who experienced damaged foundations from drilling or days without heat or air conditioning.

Vinay Sharma, director of marketing at Dandelion, said this is not a problem due to smaller drilling holes that are a standard distance from the foundation. The maximum amount of time that someone would be without air conditioning or heat as a result of installation is one day, Sharma said.

The goal of Dandelion is to make geothermal as mainstream as solar panels, according to Hannun. Eugene Russo, of Middletown, said he installed solar panels and an electric water heater earlier this year. He’s waiting for his Dandelion pump, and he said he’s eager for installation.

“My air conditioner is killing me, because it’s an old one,” Russo said. “This is newer technology.”

Hannun said geothermal heat pumps are 400 percent efficient.

“That might seem impossible, but the reason that they are able to achieve efficiency percentages higher than 100 is because you are using electricity to move heat from the ground into the house. For every one unit of electricity you use, you are moving four units of useful heat into the house.”

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