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  • Stop relying on gas
  • Slash your carbon footprint by up to 44%
  • Pair your heat pump with solar panels

Which Countries Are Winning the European Heat Pump Race?

Norway is winning the race, with one heat pump for every 3.4 people

There are 19.3 million heat pumps in Europe

That number has grown by 65% in the past four years

Heat pumps are revolutionising domestic heating all over the world – and with the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme knocking £7,500 off the price of heat pumps, they’re sure to get more popular here.

These efficient, green machines are the future of domestic heating systems, which the UK government has acknowledged with a target of 600,000 annual installations by 2028 – though it’s miles off that target, as we’ve concluded below.

Governments all over Europe have long been committed to heat pumps, preventing millions of tonnes of emissions on the way to reaching a continent-wide goal for 40% of all residential buildings to be heated by electricity by 2030.

There are now 19.3 million heat pumps installed in Europe, according to our calculations – and these are the nations leading the way.

If you want to join the heat pump revolution, it’s never been easier to compare prices. Simply fill in our easy-to-navigate tool, and our expert installers will be in touch with free quotes.

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The countries winning the European heat pump race:

1. Norway
2. Finland
3. Sweden
4. Estonia
5. Denmark
6. France
7. Italy

Heat pumps per 100,000 people

1. Norway

29,745 heat pumps per 100,000 people

Wait, you mean there’s one heat pump for every 3.4 people?

What, like it’s hard?

It certainly hasn’t been difficult for Norway, where long-standing government subsidies of at least £1,100 (with more for larger properties) have encouraged homeowners to dispense with fossil fuels.

The drive to encourage heat pump installations has been so successful that in 2020, Norway was able to ban oil heating entirely.

And since Norway produces nearly 100% renewable electricity, largely thanks to its hydropower plants, the country’s 1.61 million heat pumps are truly green.

2. Finland

24,159 per 100,000 people

Heat pumps are massively popular across Scandinavia, and Finland is no different.

The country installed more than 100,000 heat pumps for the first time in 2020, and it didn’t slow down a jot.

In 2022, Finland installed 196,000 heat pumps – nearly double the 2020 record – and overtook Sweden to claim second place across Europe.

This has helped Finland’s heat pumps to save two million tonnes of greenhouse gases, which is no mean feat considering the nation’s overall emissions are 48 million tonnes.

A huge majority of small, new-build households now choose to install a heat pump, which shows that the future is bright for heat pumps in Finland.

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heat pump in the snow

3. Sweden

22,727 per 100,000 people

Heat pumps are the default choice for new Swedish homes.

This is part of the reason why the country has consistently reached 100,000 heat pump installations per year for the past decade, before breaking the 200,000 barrier in 2022.

This has helped push fossil fuels to the margins. When it comes to domestic heating, these polluting sources have long made up less than 10% of Sweden’s energy mix.

More than half of Sweden’s electricity is supplied by renewable sources like hydropower, wind power, and biofuels, which goes directly into powering the nation’s 2.37 million heat pumps.

4. Estonia

17,280 per 100,000 people

230,000 heat pumps may not sound like much, but for Estonia, it’s a huge number.

The country has been impressively consistent in its growth, with 16,000 or 17,000 heat pumps installed in each of the past nine years.

To put that in context for this small Baltic nation of 1.3 million people, the 17,000 units bought in 2022 represented an 8% increase on its total stock of heat pumps.

It doesn’t hurt that consumers pay an average of just 20.6p per kWh for electricity.

Want to get a better idea of what it’s like to own an air source heat pump? Check out our case study with Louise, from South London.

Louise had a 12-kilowatt air source heat pump installed to reduce her reliance on fossil fuels, and received £5,000 off the upfront cost through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. Now, Louise can enjoy a warm, even temperature throughout the house, without fluctuations.

Take a look at the full interview with Louise to learn more.

5. Denmark

10,294 per 100,000 people

Government initiatives have helped stoke this country’s enthusiasm for heat pumps.

Since 2017, Denmark has incentivised homeowners to get rid of their oil boilers in favour of a heavily discounted heat pump – and in 2020, the government extended this offer to households with a gas boiler.

Companies are also getting on board, thanks partly to a 2021 grant that covers 15% of the cost of a business’s installation, up to five million krone (£570,000).

European Heat Pump Association secretary general Thomas Nowak explained the popularity of heat pumps in northern European nations was largely down to a level playing field.

“The lack of gas sources in Nordic countries and policymakers’ lack of options to keep gas artificially cheap brings heat pumps into a direct comparison with electric heating, biomass and district heating,” he told Energy Monitor.

“There is also a higher acceptance level [in Nordic countries] for using electricity as an energy carrier for heating. In Germany, for example, that was not accepted for a long time.”

heat pump on the outside of a house

6. France

5,815 per 100,000 people

France’s total of 3.9 million heat pumps is unmatched in Europe – and the country is only accelerating in this area.

It’s increased its heat pump total by 71% over the past four years – the most of any European country with more than a million units, apart from Spain.

This continued rise has been partly prompted by 2012 eco-friendly building regulations that have created a situation in which 40% of new buildings now opt for a heat pump.

The heat pump industry sustains 20,000 jobs, and saves more than 12 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

7. Italy

5,432 per 100,000 people

Heat pumps have been growing in popularity in Italy for more than a decade, but 2022 was a banner year.

The country saw a record 502,000 installations, which launched it into our top seven countries. There are now 3.2 million heat pumps installed in Italy, and we expect this number to keep rocketing upwards.

Italy’s governments have long supported this growth with special tariffs for heat pump users, as well as an incredibly generous scheme that covers 110% of the cost of a home’s heat pump installation.

That’s right: the government will pay for the entire cost of your heat pump, then on top of that, it’ll take 10% off your taxes for the next five years.

With that in mind, it makes sense that at 18.6%, Italy has the highest 2022 growth of any country on this list.

How many heat pumps has the UK installed?

The UK has installed 380,000 heat pumps, which places it 13th out of the 21 European countries we’ve considered.

And that’s not even the whole story. The UK has the third-largest population in Europe, after Germany and France, and is therefore lagging far behind in terms of heat pumps per person.

In fact, with a tiny 564 heat pumps per 100,000 people, the UK ranks 20th out of 21 nations, above only Hungary.

The European average is 4,016 heat pumps per 100,000 people. The UK would need seven times more units to meet this level – a total of 2.7 million heat pumps.

While this sounds like a big ask, it’s actually completely reasonable. France, which has practically the same population and economic standing as the UK, has installed 3.9 million heat pumps.

Norway, a country of just 5.4 million people, currently boasts 1.6 million heat pumps.

On the other hand, the UK has fewer heat pumps per person than Slovakia, Lithuania, and Estonia – not to mention every other European nation, apart from Hungary. That’s appalling.

And thanks to the government failing to publicise the benefits and grants for heat pumps, enthusiasm in the UK is still limited.

Only 3% of people plan to buy a heat pump in the next year, according to our latest National Home Energy Survey, and just 51% of UK residents are even aware of heat pumps. 

Will the UK install more heat pumps?

Yes, absolutely. The UK has been installing an increasing number of heat pumps each year since 2017, including a record 59,900 units in 2022 – and that number is set to keep rising rapidly.

The government wants to reach 600,000 installations per year by 2028, which is why the Boiler Upgrade Scheme will be in place until March 2028.

This government initiative will reduce the cost of air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps by £7,500.

There’s limited funding available, so the scheme is only able to provide grants for 30,000 homeowners per year, but this should still boost numbers somewhat.

If you want to take advantage of this first come, first served grant, just use our custom-built tool.

All you have to do is provide a few quick details about your property, and we’ll get you in touch with our heat pump suppliers, who will give you free quotes to compare.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
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