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Enertech Global hiring after tax credits restored

Enertech Global CEO and President Steve Smith presenting an award on behalf of The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), the trade association representing the interests of all businesses involved in the geothermal heat pump industry U.S. Sen. John Thune. (Submitted Photo)

A hiring spree at Enertech Global's Mitchell factory has been kicked off by the return of federal tax credits for geothermal systems.

The company was forced to lay off 27 Mitchell employees in April 2017, when business slowed after tax credits died at the end of 2016.

Credits were re-established in the 2018 Tax Reform Bill, signed by President Trump on Feb. 9.

"Due in large part to the reinstated geothermal tax credits, Enertech Global has hired five new employees to date with plans for more as growth continues," the company said in a press release Tuesday.

Company spokesperson Mallory Fohne said the company is in the process of hiring as it builds toward the busy fall season, when residential builders typically install heating and cooling systems.

Last week, Enertech Global President and CEO Steve Smith recognized South Dakota's congressional delegation for its leadership in restoring geothermal tax credits.

Smith presented awards to senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, and Rep. Kristi Noem on behalf of the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), the trade association for the geothermal heat pump industry.

"Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, and Representative Noem recognized that Congress showed preference to certain energy technologies, like solar, when its tax credits were extended in December of 2015 to the exclusion of other renewable technologies," said Smith, who is also the chairman of GEO's board of directors.

"They championed our effort to restore tax parity for renewable energies, which results in securing jobs and bringing more jobs back to South Dakota."

The bill created a 30 percent federal tax credit for residential geothermal systems installed in new and existing homes, and a 10 percent federal tax credit for commercial applications. The commercial credit will expire in 2022. The residential tax credit falls to 26 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2021, and expires in 2022.

GEO's goal, Fohne said, is to make sure geothermal energy keeps parity with solar and wind energies. "If solar and other renewable energy industries lobby for additional credits, they want to make sure we have an even playing field."

Geothermal systems provide energy-efficient, cost-saving heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and buildings, according to Enertech Global.