What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

boiler upgrade scheme green button illustration

In Spring 2022, after the Domestic RHI closed, a new Government funding programme opened to help homeowners make the switch from a fossil fuel boiler to a heat pump. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (formerly known as the Clean Heat Grant) is open to applicants who can claim £5,000 towards the installation of an air source heat pump to replace their existing boiler. To be eligible, installations need to fulfil the Scheme criteria which we will take a closer look at in this blog.

When the Government announced its Heat and Buildings Strategy in the Autumn last year, emphasis was placed on air source heat pumps as a low carbon heating solution which could significantly help reduce the carbon footprint of household heating. A lot of homes today are currently kept warm by a traditional fossil fuel boiler, such as a gas or oil boiler, but as the country moves towards achieving Net Zero, many homes will need to turn to renewable energy to reduce their dependency on high carbon fuels. This is where air source heat pumps, such as the Aerona³ heat pump from Grant, can step in.

Air source heat pumps, which utilise the heat energy in the air and transfer it into useable energy within a heating system, are already helping thousands of UK homes with their heating and hot water. Installing an air source heat pump is not the same as installing a boiler so the installation costs can be higher. This is one of the reasons why the Government introduced the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to provide consumers with financial support to assist their transition to low carbon heating.

To help homeowners understand this scheme, we have put together a series of Q&As relating to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme here. The answers given below are correct at the time of publication. [Updated 26th May 2022]

What funding is available through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) provides eligible applicants with a capital grant to support their installation of a low carbon heating system. Through the BUS, grants of £5,000 are available towards the installation and capital costs of air source heat pumps and, in some limited circumstances biomass boilers, with grants of £6,000 available for ground source and water source heat pumps.

Who is eligible?
The BUS is open to applicants in England and Wales. The grants are available to domestic and non-domestic buildings, supporting systems up to a capacity of 45kWth. Social housing and new builds are not eligible however, domestic, custom new/self-builds can apply.

What low carbon technologies are eligible?
Air source heat pump and ground source heat pumps are eligible provided they are being installed to replace an existing fossil fuel system or direct electric heating system. The only exception to this is with custom new builds whereby a heat pump installation would be eligible for a grant.
       In limited circumstances, biomass boilers can be eligible for a grant in rural areas when they are replacing an existing fossil fuel system which is not fueled by mains gas or direct electric systems.
       Please be advised the fossil fuel hybrid systems or systems used for process heating are not eligible.

How do you apply?
Ofgem are administering the Scheme and vouchers will be provided as part of the grant application and redemption process, a process which will be led by the installer.
       The installer will need to submit two applications – a BUS voucher application and a redemption application. Provided the BUS voucher application meets the eligibility criteria and consent from the property owner is received, Ofgem will then issue a BUS voucher. This BUS voucher can then be redeemed once the new heating system has been installed and commissioned. The grant will be paid to the installer, thus reducing the invoicing cost for the homeowner.

What are the key scheme requirements?
It is important that both the installing engineer and homeowner are aware of the full list of eligibility requirements for the Scheme. The heat pump unit that is selected will need to meet certain performance and efficiency thresholds, for example the heat pump installed must have a minimum SCOP of 2.8. The installer who completes the installation will also need to meet certain requirements. Alongside being a competent heat pump engineer, all installers participating in the Scheme will need to be MCS certified and members of a Consumer Code that will ensure that customers are protected by a Trading Standards Institute Approved Code of Practice.

What are the key dates?
Eligible installations which are commissioned and MCS certified from 1st April 2022 are able to apply for the BUS. The BUS opened to applications on 23rd May 2022 - this was to allow the installer account registration process to get underway which commenced on 11th April 2022. For installations commissioned between 1st April 2022 through to the 23rd May 2022, the voucher application and redemption processes has been streamlined to ensure payments can be made promptly.

For the latest information and further details about the procedures to apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, please refer to The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also published a useful guide about the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which you can download here

Helen Rishworth
Content & Communications Manager at Grant UK
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