The government has committed to achieving 70GW of solar capacity by 2035 and 600,000 heat pump installations by 2028. Eligible individuals in England can receive between £5,000 and £6,000 under the boiler upgrade scheme.
News correspondent @Shamaan_SkyNews
Monday 14 August 2023 06:37, UK
UK households and businesses have installed more heat pumps and solar panels than ever before, according to the body that accredits low carbon products.
MCS says more than 120,000 solar panels have been installed since the start of the year, and over 3,000 heat pumps have been installed each month on average.
If this rate continues, analysts say nearly 250,000 households could have renewable energy installed by the end of the year.
It comes as the government pledged to reach its target of 70GW of solar capacity by 2035 and 600,000 heat pump installations by 2028.
To incentivize the scheme, the government are offering people in England between £5,000 and £6,000 under the boiler upgrade scheme.
In Scotland, people can claim between £7,000 and £9,000 with an additional loan option of £7,500.
Norman Pitt had his solar panels, heat pump and batteries fitted with help from the government.
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He says having all the renewable technology installed cost him „nearly £30,000” but if you ask him, it’s money well spent.
„Putting aside the upfront costs our electricity consumption costs have dropped like a stone,” said Norman.
„We are so pleased that we’re economical. We are going green, saving our planet. We have also got an electric car, and this installation probably costs us a little more than it used to cost me to fill my car. So we are fairly pleased, we are over the moon.”
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The MCS CEO, Ian Rippin, said: „As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home.
„We need to continue to push this expansion to meet our shared national ambitions to reach net zero by 2050.”
However, even with the offer of government funding renewable energy installations for the vast majority of households will be unaffordable, especially in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
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„I think if we take a closer look at those figures it’s going to be people who are that bit wealthier,” said Aimee Ambrose, professor of energy policy at Sheffield Hallam University.
„They are not the households that struggled the most to heat their homes to a safe and comfortable level during last winter.
„It is those households that need to be prioritised.”
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She also stressed the households impacted the most by the cost of living crisis may also be those more likely to rent, and therefore not benefit from the scheme directly.
„The government needs to intervene to ensure that landlords are supporting the by providing them with a warm home that is safe for them to live in.”
The government scheme is believed to have led to 17,920 heat pump installations in the first six months of this year, however a House of Lords Committee found the uptake of the grants lower than expected.
MCS is calling for an expansion to the boiler upgrade scheme, offering more money in grants and vouchers per year.
It also highlights the need to build up the installation workforce, arguing that reaching the government’s target would require 50,000 workers.
Ian Rippin said: „More consumers have the confidence to invest in small-scale renewables now than ever, but we have to make that transition even easier.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said: „These figures build on our multi-billion-pound investment to improve energy efficiency across the country.
„We’ve invested £6.6bn upgrading 2.5 million homes and 47% now have a rating of C or above. Our Great British Insulation Scheme will also see an additional 300,000 homes benefit by extending the legal duty on suppliers to help customers insulate their homes.
„We are fully focused on meeting our aim of 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028, having offered grants of £5,000 and £6,000 towards the cost.”