Homeowners across the United Kingdom can now get grants towards the cost of installing systems such as solar heating panels, evacuated tubes and air source and ground source heat pumps.
• Solar Heating Panels including Evacuated Solar Tubes– £300 grant (available to all homes, regardless of the type of the existing heating system).
• Biomass boiler– £950 grant (for homes without mains gas).
• Air and ground source heat pumps– £850 grant (for homes without mains gas).
The coalition government unveiled a £15m Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme– which begins on 1 August and will run until March 2012. The incentive aims to support up to 25,000 microgeneration installations on a first come first served basis.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme aimed at anyone wanting to reduce their heating expenses with solar panels and evacuated tube technology. An extra 4million homes in rural areas that are not connected to the mains gas network and have to rely on more expensive forms of heating, such as oil, will also be able to get extra help with ground source and air source heat pumps.
The Renewable Heat Incentive will reward those people who install renewable energy measures with annual payments, similar to feed-in tariff schemes that have been so successful in encouraging PV solar panel installations.
Participants of the scheme will be asked to provide feedback through annual surveys of the system outputs and performance figures. This incentive allows the government to gather information to collect more information on these types of renewable heat outputs and performance figures.
A new era for solar heating panels
Climate change minister Greg Barker said: “Today starts a new era in home heating. We are making it cheaper for people to go green by providing discounts on the cost of eco-technology installations like solar panels. This scheme should be great news for people who are reliant on expensive oil or electric heating, as the scheme aimed at them.”
Stuart Lovatt, founder of Heat my Home, comments “When people have these technologies installed in their homes, they see the benefit. Initial preconceptions of solar panel technology have been swept away over the last five years, with advancements in the technology making it easier to understand. It must acknowledge that the evacuated solar tube systems, in particular, have pushed the efficiency of solar heating to new and better levels than before.”
For those homes who already have necessary energy-saving measures, such as insulation, double glazing and low energy light bulbs, it’s a great way to increase not only their market value but more importantly, to improve their energy efficiency for the next 25+ years. Nobody can argue that this is not a good thing in today’s high energy price world.
The main issues that prevent people from taking up solar heating and heat pump technologies is the up-front capital cost and inadequate knowledge of how well they work even in the UK climate. This scheme will be a great start to overcoming these obstacles.
As more and more people take the plunge and install microgeneration systems and higher energy costs begin to squeeze household budgets, the more we will see these types of systems as the norm.