What the new ‘BUS’ grant means for heat pumps
Neil Williams takes a look at the new Boiler Upgrade Scheme and how it will provide financial assistance for householders looking to install a heat pump
As at the end of March 2022, the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme officially closes and is replaced by the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). You may have also heard of the Clean Heat Grant, but that has now changed to BUS.
Under the former RHI, the government gave a variable grant over seven years. With BUS the situation is simpler in that there is a flat £5,000 grant for Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and £6,000 for Ground Source Heat pumps (GSHPs). Total funds available are £450m, which translates into about 90,000 heat pumps over the projected three-year life of the scheme. Not a lot, but unlikely to run out quickly at the current rate of installation.
Eligibility is subject to three main criteria
- The applicant must produce an up-to-date EPC. If that recommends either cavity wall insulation or loft insulation that must be fitted first, as was the case with RHI.
- The pump must achieve an efficiency of at least 280% (SCOP = 2.8). This additional safeguard is to ensure good design and installation.
- Heat pumps must replace existing fossil fuel heating (oil, gas or coal) or direct electric heating.
Although BUS was due to start on 1 April, the government had not yet explained (at the time of writing in late-March) how to apply other than to say it will be the installer’s responsibility. So, if you are interested, it looks as though you will have to approach an installer for a quote and ask them to apply for a BUS grant if you want to proceed.
In late March, there was also an announcement that the scheme will not open for applications until 23 May 2022. This has provoked an angry reaction from the industry as installers effectively cannot book in heat pump installations between April 1 and 23 May unless they advance the missing £5,000, until the scheme opens. Alternatively, they can shut up shop for two months which will damage their businesses.
Hopefully more clarification will emerge soon. We’ll keep you posted.