Boiler Upgrade Scheme Opens


The Boiler Upgrade Scheme has officially launched to help homeowners in England and Wales afford the upfront costs of installing a heat pump.

The £450m policy will offer grants of £5,000 for homeowners to have air source heat pumps installed, and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps. Although only 90,000 homes are expected to benefit.

The scheme is part of more than £3.9bn funding announced in last year's Heat and Buildings Strategy to help cut carbon emissions from homes.

Around 14% of the UK’s carbon emissions comes from heating our homes, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says, and the Boiler Upgrade Scheme will be a key driver to help the UK reach its net zero target of 2050, and to ensure that all new heating system installations will be low carbon by 2035.

Here’s everything you need to know about the scheme so far, including how much funding you can apply for, and how long the scheme will last.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will operate similarly to the Green Homes Grant, whereby the government will contribute a fixed sum towards the cost of a renewable heating system.

The government will operate a first-come, first-served basis to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

In an update published in March, the government has confirmed the following timeline:

  • 1 April 2022 - Low carbon heating systems that are commissioned on or after this date will be entitled to support under the scheme. (Commissioning is the completion of installation and set up of the system).

  • 11 April 2022 - Installers will be able to open an account for the scheme with Ofgem, the scheme administrator.

  • 23 May 2022 - The scheme opens for grant applications and payments.

Government grants of £5,000 will be available for the purchase of air source heat pumps and biomass boilers, and grants of £6,000 will be available for ground source heat pumps.

The government says that a “proportionately higher grant level in relation to overall cost has been set for ASHPs given that the majority of existing properties are suitable for this technology”.

Because the funding is administered through grants, this means that homeowners will be required to pay the difference if costs exceed the grant.

Applications will begin from 23 May, although you can start to get quotes now providing the commissioning date of your new heating system is on or after 1 April 2022.

We recommend you get quotes from more than one installer to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.

Applicants will be encouraged to register their interest with MCS-certified heat pump installers via Ofgem, who will then agree a quote for the installation and apply for the grant on your behalf. The value of the grant will be discounted off the price you pay.

Redeeming of the voucher will be led by the installer, who will confirm proof of the installation and process the completed paperwork.

You will then need to confirm that the installer is acting on your behalf when you’re contacted by Ofgem.

The following types of heat pumps will be supported:

  • Ground source heat pumps

  • Water source heat pumps (which the government considers in the same tech category as GSHPs)

  • Air source heat pumps

Biomass boilers will be supported, but only in rural areas with populations of 10,000 people or less. They won’t be offered to people in urban areas.

Your home must also meet high emissions standards to have a biomass boiler installed, which the government says is “to mitigate any negative impact on air quality.”

Systems with a total capacity of up to 45kW will be eligible for the scheme.

Applicants will have a set validity period to ensure the vouchers are utilised in a timely manner and that unused vouchers can be recycled.

The validity period will be three months for air source heat pumps and biomass boiler vouchers, and six months for ground source heat pump vouchers.

Most homeowners, small landlords and private landlords in England and Wales will be eligibly to apply for grant.

However, all applicants must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), typically one which has been issued in the last 10 years.

There are some caveats to ensuring your EPC is eligible. Firstly, you must have no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. If you do, you'll need to insulate your home before applying for the scheme.

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Alternatively, you can progress with your application if your property has an EPC insulation exemption.

he scheme won't available for those in social housing and new-build properties. And it won't be available if you live in Northern Ireland or Scotland.

You also won't be eligible if you are replacing an existing low-carbon heating system. Only properties which are fully replacing existing fossil fuel systems (such as oil, gas or direct electric) will be eligible for support, the government says.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme will run from April 2022 until April 2025.

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