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Boiler Upgrade Scheme Uptake Improved End of 2023

A heating technician in a red polo shirt altering the control panel of an outdoor heat pump unit
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Feb 21, 2024
4 minutes read

According to reports from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, applications to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme were 49% higher in December 2023 than they were at the same point in 2022. Having started in 2022, uptake has been incredibly slow, not least because of the high prices faced by some low carbon improvements.

What Is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?

April 2022 saw the introduction of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which replaced the Renewable Heat Incentive. £150 million was put aside for UK households to make use of. The idea behind the scheme was to reduce household emissions and give homeowners grants towards installing a low carbon alternative to their existing heating system.

In September 2023, the government raised the grant levels for heat pumps from £5,000 to £7,500. Assuming a household was replacing their boiler with a full ground or air source heat pump, they would qualify for the grant. Biomass boilers are also included in the scheme, but their grant levels remain at £5,000.

When the grant levels were increased, the funding remained the same, meaning fewer households will be able to make use of the scheme. While an increase in uptake and awareness has always been the goal, homeowners have needed more of a helping hand for the push the government has been looking for.

Average Costs

Biomass boilers can cost anything from £5,000 to £15,000 or above, depending on the model and type of system that you choose. These low carbon boilers produce much less carbon dioxide and harmful gases than other fuel types, but do have an associated link to transportation emissions.

Heat pumps can cost from £5,000 to £30,000 and above, depending heavily on which system and how extensive your installation needs to be. Typically, it’s only ground source heat pumps that can be at the higher end of the scale because excavation works need to be completed in an accompanying garden space.

For air source heat pumps, installation is fairly straightforward, meaning these are at the cheaper end of the scale. If you make use of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, you can receive £7,500 off the installation, which can make a £10,000 model all that more affordable.

Increased Uptake

Following on from the increase in grant amounts in September 2023, a record 1,150 applications came through within a week. This was a 60% increase. Come December 2023, the percentage fell slightly to 49%, but this is still much more than applications in 2022. It seems the appetite for low carbon technology is more alive than ever.

Problems With the Scheme

There have been several pitfalls associated with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, including the lack of funding. When the scheme was announced, only 30,000 homes could have made use of all the money that had been put aside. Now that the grant amounts have increased, this has plummeted to 20,000 as no new money has been injected. If around 90% of homes in the UK are heated using fossil fuels, these numbers aren’t going to make a difference.

The other issue with the scheme is that it doesn’t focus on the problem of insulation. An EDF study found that 58% of UK homes only have insulation that meets 1976 standards, and minimum thicknesses for loft insulation have increased fourfold since then. Even if more money was injected into the scheme, the lack of suitable insulation will still be draining household energy funds.

Get Your Heat Pump

If you’re interested in making use of the £7,500 discount for a heat pump, all you have to do is get in touch with an installer. Providing you qualify, you’ll automatically receive the discount in the final bill.

To find out how much you’d pay for a heat pump of your choice, use the button below to receive a tailored quote. It only takes a minute.