Renewable
What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
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What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

In Spring 2022, after the current Domestic RHI has closed, a new Government funding programme is opening 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) will 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 will 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 is introducing 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 Government has opened a consultation regarding the administration process of Governing the scheme and this consultation will close on the 27th January 2022. The responses will then be reviewed and published in Spring 2022 with any decisions published and the Policy statement issued a few days later. The answers given below are correct at the time of publication.

What funding is available through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) will provide eligible applicants with a capital grant to support their installation of a low carbon heating system. Through the BUS, grants of £5,000 will be 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 will be available to domestic and non-domestic buildings, supporting systems up to a capacity of 45kWth. Social housing and new builds will not be eligible however, domestic, custom new/self-builds will be able to 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 will not be eligible.

How do you apply?
Finalised details of the application process are not yet confirmed – it is thought that this process will be confirmed nearer to April when the BUS opens. However, it is proposed that Ofgem will administer 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.
       It is proposed that 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 commissioned. It is proposed that the grant will be paid to the installer, thus reducing the invoicing cost for the homeowner.

What are the key scheme requirements?
Similar to the application steps, the requirements of the Scheme will be finalised in the early Spring. 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.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will open once the Government’s current funding programme, the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme, closes on 31st March 2022. Before the BUS opens, the Government will announce the Scheme’s final details and procedures so for the latest information, please refer to www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-and-social-schemes/boiler-upgrade-scheme-bus.

Helen Rishworth
Assistant Marketing Manager at Grant UK