Replacing your boiler soon? The Race to Renewable, March 2022

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There’s a UK-wide race on for households to access a grant that has made renewable energy affordable for 90,000 homes over the last decade. This fund, the Renewable Heat Incentive will end in March 2022.


National headlines last month announced rising energy prices and questioned how we pay for a renewable, carbon zero society. After Grafham, Great Staughton and Perry decided that a renewable energy heat network was not an affordable option for the local villages involved, we are seizing local momentum to support individual households in the village and beyond, to change to renewable energy heating. We have put together some practical information to help those who may be considering replacing their heating in the next year or so to make a positive move to future-proofing your heating and to make a change that the next generation can be proud of.


Put simply, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) pays a tariff to you, based on your home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a measure of your homes insulation, and the energy saved by your new renewable heating installation. Overall, the funding has been very successful, almost 90,000 homes have had renewable heating installed. The tariff, paid over 7 years, can cover up to 70% of the costs involved in installing an air source heat pump. This has been the most popular form of renewable heating installed in homes using RHI. After March 2022, it is expected that RHI will be replaced by a single £4,000 payment towards the cost of an Air Source Heat Pump, which would cover less that 50% of the upfront costs.


What are your future heating options? 


- Replace an oil boiler, with an oil boiler. There is a plan to phase out oil in the UK, and some manufacturers are winding down oil boilers, parts and maintenance may become increasingly difficult. 


- Replace your boiler before March 2022 with an Air Source Heat Pump, cover around 70% of the costs, potentially 100% using Renewable Heat Incentive. This option will only be able until 31st March 2022, when RHI ends. 


- Replace your boiler before March 2022 with an Air Source Heat Pump, and low or no upfront costs using an installer offering Assignment of Rights. This process allows the installer to claim your Renewable Heat Incentive payment, to cover installation costs. You would pay for the ongoing electrical and servicing costs of the heat pump. This option will only be able until 31st March 2022, when RHI ends. 


- Replace your boiler after March 2022 with an Air Source Heat Pump, with a voucher for £4,000 via the Clean Heat Grant, which will cover up to 50% of the costs, maybe.


Through the tri-village heating project we have met several households that have taken advantage .of RHI and installed an air source heat pump within their own home. An air source heat pumps uses electricity to upgrade heat extracted from air, through a process that is the opposite of a fridge. This means that your electricity costs will go up due to use by the Air Source Heat Pump, but that your overall heating costs could go down in the long term.


After installing an approved Air Source Heat Pump, you register your heating system, to then receive a quarterly payment from the government. The payment amount is based on the estimate energy use of your home, stated on its EPC.


We would like to help facilitate a heat network of a different kind in the village, by creating a support network between those who are interested in installing renewable heating and those who have already installed it! If you would like to speak to someone in your village about their personal experience of installing an air source heat pump, please email info@g0grafham.co.uk. Or contact us if you would be happy to speak with your neighbours about your experience.


We are also in the process of speaking to Cambridgeshire County Council to see if they would be willing to support group buying of air source heat pumps. This might help reduce the cost of installations.


Useful Links:


How much could you earn from RHI? https://renewable-heatcalculator.service.gov.uk/ StartCalculation.aspx


Where can I find an Air Source Heat Pump installer? www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk (Trading Standards Approved suppliers) www.tradingstandards.uk/commercialservices/consumer-codes-approvalscheme/i-am-a-consumer (Search for Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme, or Renewable Energy Consumer Code) https://mcscertified.com/find-aninstaller/. MCS certified website was recommended.