Air Source Heat Pump Grants
Grants for Air Source Heat Pumps
Air source heat pumps, commonly known by the abbreviation 'ASHP', might not be the first method people think of when it comes to renewable energy systems but, perhaps somewhat shockingly, air source heat pumps are proving to be hugely popular in the United Kingdom with those wishing to switch to sustainable fuels. In fact, of the 900 grants handed out to UK homeowners within the first two weeks of the government funded Renewable Heat Premium Payments initiative scheme, a massive 36% were used to help fund new installations of air source heat pumps. This is the largest percentage for any renewable energy system covered by the scheme.
It is thought that the simple installation, low maintenance and moderate equipment costs are encouraging home and business owners alike to opt for this type of alternative fuel. However, although the initial purchase and installation charges can be considerably lower than for other forms of sustainable energy system, complete systems still cost more than conventional gas or electricity which is limiting the percentage of the population choosing to become more environmentally friendly in this manner. Fortunately, the UK government recognises that these large costs are causing a bit of a bump in the road when it comes to meeting alternative energy targets and have a number of grants, cash incentives and other funding methods to help make renewable energy systems a suitable and cost effective option for everyone.
The Cost of Air Source Heat Pumps
Compared to other renewable energy systems such as solar panels or biomass boilers, the price of installing an air source heat pump is actually quite competitive. Exact costs vary depending on required energy output. For example, a standard household will need far less energy generated than a large business. The purpose of the generated power will also determine how much energy is needed, as air to water systems which utilise existing central heating systems will require more energy than air to air systems. The Centre for Alternative Technology advises that air source heat pumps should generally cost in the region of £1,000 per installed kilowatt, so if a property requires seven kilowatts of energy to run, the cost of the equipment and installation should be around £7,000. For an average UK household, the expected price range for a complete system is £6,000 to £10,000. Costs for large businesses are likely to be significantly more.
Local Authority Grants
Finding local authority grants for air source heat pumps may prove to be somewhat of a challenge as only a small number of areas offer renewable energy funding and, of those which do, an even smaller amount offer grants specifically for this form of sustainable energy system. However, looking into local authority grants is certainly worth the effort as those authorities who do dish out funding usually do so quite generously. For example, one authority in Northern England offers homeowners in the area grants of up to £500 towards the installation costs for any renewable energy system including air source heat pumps.
The Renewable Heat Incentive
The Renewable Heat Incentive, also known as the RHI, is a government funded scheme, launched in 2011, that assists both private and public businesses, as well as non profit making charities with funding towards the costs of running a sustainable energy system. In the UK, the heat is on - quite literally - to meet the government imposed target of producing 15% of power from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. This being the case, phase 1 of the RHI scheme was rolled out specifically for commercial properties as they contribute the largest amount of carbon emissions of any sector; 38%.
Unfortunately, Phase 1 of the RHI, while supporting ground source heat pumps and water source heat pumps, does not, as of 2012, support air source heat pumps. The reason for this is stated as a lack of insight into accurate means of measuring air sourced fuel and power output.
It is expected that Phase 2 of the scheme, due to launch in summer 2013, will see the inclusion of air source heat pumps not only for the commercial sector but for domestic residences too. If air source heat pumps get the go ahead, home and business owners are expected to be able to claim a set amount per thermal kilowatt generated until the end of the scheme in 2031.
Renewable Heat Premium Payments
Homeowners looking to source grants prior to the launch of RHI Phase 2 can claim Renewable Heat Premium Payments (RHPP) if eligible and will still be entitled to RHI payments come 2013 should the scheme extend its services to cover air source heat pumps. RHPP is, once again, a government funded programme which provides vouchers entitling recipients to a one off discount applied to the cost of purchasing and installing sustainable energy systems.
To be eligible for RHPP, properties must have addresses in England, Scotland or Wales and currently be relying on power generated from methods other than mains gas. Vouchers of £850 are offered to homeowners wishing to install air source heat pumps. Successful applicants will receive an initial voucher for 80% of the grant, followed by the remaining 20% upon completion of a check of the recently installed system. Vouchers are valid for five months from date of issue and must be used by March 31st 2013.