Get a grant to install a heat pump, solar panels or biomass boiler

Find out how you can get a government grant towards the cost of installing a heat pump, biomass boiler or solar thermal panels here.

heat pump, solar panels or biomass boiler

Get a grant towards the cost of installing solar
thermal panels, a heat pump or biomass boiler

Over a quarter of UK carbon emissions come from home energy use, says the Energy Saving Trust (EST). With government pledges to reduce total CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, this means tackling the household energy sector. Since last April when Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) were launched, more than 21,000 solar PV systems have been installed, reports Ofgem. The scheme awards cash for every Kilowatt hour (kWh) of renewable electricity produced by technology like solar PV. “The idea is to take that FIT model and apply it to renewable heat with the RHI,” explains Adam Graveley from sustainable housing company BRE at 2011’s Ecobuild show.

How does the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) work?

The RHI has been allocated £860 million in government funding and is a world first. The government have decided to launch the RHI first in industrial, business and public sectors, which are responsible for 38% of the UKs carbon emissions. Under the scheme companies will receive cash for every Kilowatt hour (kWh) of renewable heat generated by the following technologies:

  • Heat pumps – either air or ground source models, which extract warmth from the ground or air. Find out more about how heat pumps work and if your home is suitable for one here.
  • Solar thermal panels – use the suns energy to produce hot water for use in the home, find out if solar thermal panels are a good option for your property here.
  • Biomass boilers (but not wood burning stoves or fireplaces) – burn wood and plant matter and can be completely carbon neutral if you replant what you burn or use local sustainable wood. The amount of Co2 given off by a biomass boiler is cancelled out by the amount of CO2 wood absorbs during its lifespan – find out more here.

Payments last for 20 years and the tariff levels are set to provide around a 12% return on investment. Tariff levels are also inflation linked and the scheme is available to any installations made since the 15th July 2009. In 2013, domestic installations will also be eligible to receive RHI tariff payments. Adam says: “It’s a personal investment, the RHI is a fairly good option compared to other financial products.”

Get a grant for installing a heat pump, solar panels or a biomass boiler

Starting from 1st August 2011 the government are using £25 million of the funding allocated to the RHI to provide domestic properties with grants towards the cost of installing renewable heat technology. The grants, referred to as Renewable Heat Premium Payments (RHPPs), will help people install renewable heat technology. You could receive:

  • £1,250 when installing a ground source heat pump if you don’t heat your home with gas. 
  • £850 towards the cost of an air source heat pump if you don’t heat your home with gas.
  • £300 for installing solar thermal panels.
  • £950 off the cost of a biomass boiler if you don’t heat your home with gas.

You can apply for a grant through the EST; to be eligible you must:

  • Have a well insulated home – as rated by your Energy Performance Certificate. Adam explains: “You will need to have 125mm of loftinsulation and cavity wall insulation if applicable.”
  • Own the property – or have permission from the owner to install renewable heat technology.
  • Have planning permssion – this should be awarded before you apply for the grant.
  • Provide feedback – on how the technology performs and allow for monitoring – this means answering two surveys and perhaps having an energy meter installed in your home.
  • Use Microgeneration certification scheme (MCS) products and installers; “This is to make sure products are installed properly and protect small investors from cowboys,” says Ray Noble from the Renewable Heat Association.

How much can you save and make by installing a heat pump, solar thermal panels or biomass boiler?

Technology Cost Possible annual earnings under the RHI Grant available from July Annual savings on fuel bills Annual CO2 savings
Solar thermal panels £4,800 Up to £400 £300 £50 -£80 570kg
Air source heat pumps £6,000- £10,000 £1,000- £2,000 £850 £70 -£530 4.6 –5 tonnes
Ground source heat pumps £9,000- £17,000 £1,000- £2,000 £1,250 £70 -£530 5.6 –6 tonnes
Automatically fed wood pellet boiler £11,500 Up to £2,000 £950 Up to £390 9.5 tonnes


*Figures are approximate and come from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

avi hunter says:

Can you get a grant for a biomas boiler with out planning permission and can you still claim money back from the government every quarter

mjackson says:

Hi Avi,

Thanks for your post.

This technology is an eligible measure under the UK government’s Green Deal which is a financing mechanism that lets people pay for energy-efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bills and While Planning Permission is not required for a boiler, it may be required for a boiler house,
fuel silo and flue (chimney). It may also be required for any aspect of an installation where historic buildings are involved or in sensitive locations. If there is likely to be an increase in the number of large vehicle movements for fuel delivery, or fuel delivery is likely to be noisy, e.g. when blowing wood chips, Planning Permission may be required. However, all installations will require a building warrant.

I hope this info helps.

Mark @ Servicemagic

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