Government stumps up 50% increase for heat pump switch
By Simon Hacker | 23rd October 2023
A move by the government to nudge the uptake of heat pumps with an extra £2,500 boost for grants has been welcomed by key Gloucestershire players in the renewable energy sector.
Amid poor public uptake which has suggested that the target for installing 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028 is unlikely to be achieved, the key aim of the allocation is to reduce upfront cost for installation and address a lack of clear information.
From today, air source heat pump grants for homeowners in England and Wales rise by 50% to £7,500. The move was originally outlined by Rishi Sunak as part of his announcement last month to row back on a ban on gas boilers, which were due for a ban in 2035 but which will instead face an 80% phase-out.
As reported last week , today's move follows closely on the National Infrastructure Commission's warning that the rate of heat pump installation is simply "not cutting the mustard" and it is believed that uptake has been so poor that the existing scheme has sufficient unspent budget to now make this extra offer.
For Dursley-based Immersa Energy, who specialise in both business and domestic installations, a spokesman told Punchline-Gloucester.com that the announcement is essentially a welcome move in the right direction.
And for the Cotswold Energy Group (CEG), based in Stonehouse, which recently was bought up by South Coast Insulation Services, the extra funding availability adds welcome impetus for homeowners seeking to embrace sustainability and lower bills.
Jon Bonnar, CEG managing director, said: "More support is certainly welcome, but we still need to do more."
The announcement to boost funding, he said, had effectively come out of the Prime Minister's hand being forced when the story on gas boilers being spared an outright ban was leaked to the press.
"It was a move that mitigates on that decision, but we welcome it all the same because the grant will bring heat pumps closer to parity with the price of installing gas boilers. It adds to our momentum, but we still - make no mistake - need more momentum."
Mr Bonnar added that in the wake of the company's recent takeover, CEG is currently seeking to boost its workforce in all areas, including electicians, installation and backroom office support.
Key features of the announced grant change include a boost in support for installing ground source heat pumps (which require sizeable outside space and are consequently less applicable) from £6,000 to £7,500, while the £2,500 in extra support - on top of £5,000 offered - aims to take the cost of installing an air source heat pump below that of the average gas boiler.
● Heat pumps are seen as critical to meeting the UK's 2035 climate targets by halving the carbon emissions from heating buildings, which still accounts for almost one-quarter of the UK's fossil fuel demand. An estimated eight million buildings need to switch from gas boilers, which still heat around nine in 10 English properties. The date target remains at 2035 if the UK is to meet its 2050 net zero goal, the NIC has said.
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