Boiler Upgrade Scheme

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is the government grant for low carbon heating which replaces the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive). The scheme launches in April 2022 and will pay an upfront grant as opposed to a payment spread over 7 years. Hopefully this will make the scheme more accessible than the RHI. 

Although it's less money than the RHI it's an upfront payment so that will hopefully make it more accessible. The voucher is paid to the installer - giving an added incentive for doing a good job because they plan to put the voucher on hold if there's a problem.  

The scheme aims to be supporting nearly three times the number of installations compared to the RHI. So we go from something like 11,000-12,0000 installations a year to 30,000. So initially there will probably be somewhat of a struggle for suppliers and engineers to keep pace. 

Biomass will be concentrated on existing houses in rural areas off the gas grid.

Biomass is not supported if any one of the following apply:

  • The house is in an urban area (a population of 10,000 people or more)
  • The house is connected to the gas grid
  • If it is a newbuild (including self-build)

Selfbuild homes DO however qualify for a grant for a heat pump.

This means a lot less homes will be eligible for grant support for biomass. In practice these types of homes are already the typical homes that our Firepower network of installers install into.

It's first come first served
The vouchers are on a first-come-first-served basis with a budget set each quarter.
Once that budget is reached they stop issuing vouchers.
Once they reopen the window they then have to consider the applications already submitted. 

Some insulation upgrades are required first
The EPC report for the house has to either not recommend loft or cavity wall insulation
The owner commits to carrying out those measures.
There's a good reason why that's not possible - for example a property's listed status stops that happening.

This is a good move because insulation upgrades reduce overall demand - which is a year-on-year saving for the homeowner, and of course fuel and electricity production do still have an environmental impact so anything that can be done to reduce that consumption is a good thing. 

Air source heat pumps
installations are set to increase
Air source heat pumps are going to make up the majority of supported installations and can be installed at any property that meets the insulation criteria (and is not a new-build, but can be a self-build).

Installer and product be MCS
The installer and appliance must be MCS registered (or equivalent). This is a good move in our opinion - the previous scheme, the Green Homes Grant, had gone down the route of using Trustmark which seemed curious to us seeing as MCS is already a tried and well-tested scheme - so we are pleased to see them at the centre of the scheme again. 

Being MCS registered is not just a tickbox exercise - it's the best going way of ensuring the quality of the installation design and the installation itself, as well as the quality of the product.  

All this is only published as part of a draft document - so bear in mind that this could all still change. 

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