UK climate targets and government ambitions to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 mean there’s no time like the present for rolling out low carbon heating in your home.
In fact, the government has launched a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) to replace the old Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI, which ends at midnight on 31st March 2022. So, you’ll soon be able to access grants for installing renewable tech.
It will offer upfront capital grants, via a voucher scheme, for households and small businesses looking to install a heat pump (and some other low carbon technologies).
You will be able to access Boiler Upgrade Scheme funding of £5,000 towards air source heat pumps (ASHPs) and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps (GSHPs). The grant is higher for ground source heat pumps to reflect the increased costs associated with groundworks and installing the ground array piping.
The grant-based approach was decided on as it directly targets the installation cost of low carbon heating systems and increases accessibility. This will open up the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to a multitude of households with different levels of budget.
This was a notable limitation of old RHI, which worked on the proposition of cashback payments. So, the RHI was only really attractive to those with the upfront capital to be able to install a heat pump in the first place.
The BUS will officially launch on 23rd May, although any qualifying system commissioned from 1st April will be eligible for the funding. Quotation and installation can all be completed before this date, however.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme Vouchers will be valid for three months from the date of issue for ASHPs or six months for GSHPs. However, it will still be possible to apply for the BUS in the event of an overrun.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will be open to anyone interested in fitting a heat pump in their property or small business. However, it must be installed for the purpose of meeting the full space heating and hot water demands of one property only, and installations are limited to a maximum capacity of 45 kWth.
Advocating a fabric first approach, the BUS requires loft and cavity wall insulation to be installed prior to the voucher being redeemed to realise lower energy bills. The scheme is open for both existing properties and new self build homes.
The BUS is installer-led and applying for a voucher is done in two stages. In essence, stage one of the process requires basic information about the property and the system that’s going to be fitted.
Stage two of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme application process initiates after the voucher has been issued and the installation is complete. So, in this phase, the voucher is redeemed and the grant allocated.
All of this is administered by the installer, who should provide you with the relevant paperwork for your system (quotation documentation, MCS certification, grant payment etc).
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme forms a key part of the government’s plans to roll out low carbon heating systems into homes across the UK. Its launch also comes at an ideal time for anyone looking to install a heat pump. Not only can these systems reduce your carbon footprint, but they can also cut your heating bills.
One of the main benefits of air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps is that they’re incredibly energy efficient. With the recent hikes in energy costs, this is a significant driver for increased interest in this renewable technology.
Installers will need to be MCS certified to fit heat pumps under the BUS scheme. With installers being key to the rollout of heat pumps across the country, NIBE has made training a top priority in recent years and is committed to supporting installers and consumers as we move away from fossil fuel heating.
This is why we have launched NIBE Pro, a partnership scheme that’s designed to guide and assist installers and their teams towards achieving MCS certification, so that they can provide a high-quality service to consumers who are looking to benefit from the government’s BUS funding.
Phil Hurley is UK managing director at NIBE Energy Systems.