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Government announces renewable heating incentives

The Government today (July 21) announced funding of up to £15m to encourage the take-up of renewable heating systems.

The funding means householders could get up to £1,250 towards the cost of installing renewable heating systems such as biomass boilers, air and ground source heat pumps and solar thermal panels.

Climate change minister, Greg Barker said: “Today starts a new era in home heating because we’re making it more economical for people to go green by providing discounts off the cost of eco heaters.

The incentive is called the Renewable Heat Premium Payments and will be focused mainly on those UK households without mains gas – around four million. on the estimated four million households in the UK not heated by mains gas.

The cash payments will be administered by the Energy Saving Trust.

Barker said: “This should be great news for people who are reliant on expensive oil or electric heating as the Premium Payment scheme is really aimed at them.

“Getting money off an eco-heater will not just cut carbon emissions, it will also help create a market in developing, selling and installing kit like solar thermal panels or heat pumps.”

·Ground Source Heat Pump – £1250 grant (for homes without mains gas heating);

·Biomass boiler – £950 grant (for homes without mains gas heating);

·Air source heat pump – £850 grant (for homes without mains gas heating);

·Solar thermal hot water panels – £300 grant (available to all households regardless of the type of heating system used);

However, there has already been some criticism that the scheme is coming in too early – it starts this August – and lasts only until the end of March 2012. Because eligibility is dependent on the products being installed by those accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or Solar Keymark (for solar thermal products), it is feared that smaller installers will lose out as the cost and complexity of certification could be prohibitive.

Hampshire plumbers merchant Mick Williams is campaigning for the scheme to be simplified for smaller companies to allow them access to the market along with the energy companies and larger installers.

He says: “The burden is simply too much to bear for a small company which is likely undertake only a handful of installations per year. To make matters worse, there is a danger that they won’t simply sit silently on the sidelines – they are likely to actively discourage their householder customers from including RTs in their refurbishments and extensions, because they know that they will not be able to carry out a project which requires MCS accreditation.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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