The Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced that grants available to households installing renewable heat technologies, including solar heating systems, are to double.
The money off vouchers available under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme have been increased to £2,300 for ground source heat pumps, £2,000 for biomass boilers, £1,300 for air source heat pumps and £600 for solar thermal systems.
The RHPP scheme, first launched in July 2011, is designed to encourage householders to switch to renewable heat from traditional heating systems by offering money off the cost of the equipment. The scheme is targeted at those living off the gas grid, where most money on bills and carbon can be saved.
Stuart Elmes, chair of the STA’s Solar Thermal Working Group, said: “This is fantastic news for solar heating. The industry can really get behind the improved voucher levels and vigorously drive towards a spring 2014 launch of the domestic RHI with renewed enthusiasm.
“This announcement is, at last, a tangible demonstration of government’s oft-proclaimed commitment to domestic renewable heat technologies.
“Many within industry had wavered in their belief that they would ever see a domestic RHI. We now need to get the good news out there and let householders know that solar heating is more affordable.”
Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “Over 10,000 householders have already taken advantage of money off renewable heating kit and we want to see even more consumers stepping up to the plate and getting on board.
“But I want to go even further. I want to kick start this exciting new market for consumer renewable heat technologies.
“This time limited, big increase in the value of vouchers for hardworking people who want to do something positive to install money saving green heating in their homes, should be a real boost for this growing green sector.”
The scheme was extended in March this year until the end of March 2014 ahead of the launch of a Renewable Heat Incentive for householders.
Alongside changes to the voucher values, householders will now be required to undertake a Green Deal assessment before submitting a claim to the Energy Saving Trust to redeem their voucher.
This will help householders think about how renewable heat could fit with energy efficiency improvements for their home and ensure they are advised on choosing the right technology for them.
The additional voucher values are intended to reflect the cost of a Green Deal assessment, as well as the cost of getting these technologies installed in homes. Householders can also use the Green Deal to pay for some of the cost through savings on their energy bill.