Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant increases to £7,500 from 23 October
Grant for installing a heat pump - under the government's Boiler Upgrade Scheme - increases to £7500 on 23 October 2023
Boiler Upgrade Scheme grants for heat pumps in England and Wales are set to increase to £7500 on 23 October 2023, up from £6000 currently. The grant for installing a biomass boiler in an existing rural property has not increased. It remains at £5000.)
Those looking to install an air source heat pump should find that the increased grant covers the vast bulk of the expense, making an upgrade to a cleaner heating source more palatable.
The aim of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is to encourage the adoption of low-carbon heating systems, but as we pointed out, it has been criticised by many, including the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee, because of the low number of people taking up the grants.
Costs associated with retrofitting heat pumps to older properties have turned out to be prohibitive for many – even with the grants. Often, a full set of new radiators is required, for example. There is also a lack of understanding about heat pumps in the general population. So homeowners needing to replace or upgrade their heating have tended to stick with what they know and chosen boilers.
The government has, therefore, increased the size of individual grants available to try to boost take-up (although the total pot of money available to fund the scheme does remain the same).
Champions of low-carbon energy have welcomed the news. Abigail Ward, of the Energy Saving Trust, told us: ‘Today, replacing an old, G-rated gas boiler with an air-source heat pump could save around 2,900kg of carbon dioxide emissions a year. These savings are expected to increase as more renewable energy sources continue to be connected to the electricity grid.
‘The increase in the grant funding available to homeowners under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a welcome step towards addressing the high upfront cost of installing a heat pump, which can otherwise be a barrier for households.’
New training scheme
Another barrier to heat pump adoption has been the lack of qualified installers. There are currently only 4,000 to 5,000 MCS qualified heat pump installers in the country. But the government is hoping its new Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship scheme will help to solve this problem by training hundreds of new heat-pump engineers.
Other sources of support
It is also worth noting there is other help available for low-carbon installations, for example, until 31 March 2027, zero VAT is being charged on energy-saving materials, including heat pumps and biomass boilers.
The new higher level of funding only applies to applications made on 23 October 2023 or later. Anyone who has a current application in place can cancel this and reapply at a later date to get a higher level of funding. It’s worth having a conversation with your installer to sort out the details and make sure you’re getting the maximum amount.
You can read our full guide to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to find out who’s eligible and how to apply for the funding.