Why Heat Pumps Are the Future
While heat pumps have increased in price recently, there are ways to reduce their operating costs. Linked with solar PV panels, you can use the sun’s energy to offset the electricity used. While this might not be able to cover their entire operating costs, it will go a long way to reducing them.
There’s been a surge in the price of gas, but electricity hasn’t risen nearly as much, which is another reason why heat pumps make more sense. The running costs are now becoming a lot more affordable when compared to a gas boiler, meaning it’s a viable option for people looking to upgrade their heating system.
Businesses haven’t had as much support as households in terms of mounting costs, but because of inflation, heat pumps have gone up. Prices are up 5-10% because of wholesale costs, which amount to a rise of £2,000 in the past three years. Given that heat pumps are already at the pricier end of renewable home heating systems, this isn’t welcome news.
Heat pumps work like a fridge, but in reverse, warming up your house using the warm temperature available from outside. While they still use electricity, they are highly efficient, using much less energy to operate than it takes to heat your home.
Pairing a heat pump system with solar panels will allow you to use your own produced energy to heat your home. While heat pumps use electricity, the cost isn’t as much as using wholesale gas and will be even lower if you can offset this with renewables, perhaps even entirely, depending on the size of your home. If you already have solar panels, then linking a heat pump makes a lot of sense.
The government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme helps reduce the upfront cost of a heat pump by up to £6,000, but it’s still a significant cost. Some have even said the grant needs to be at least double its current value to have a meaningful impact in order to improve uptake.
Many people can’t afford the initial cost of a heat pump, which is currently more than ten times the cost of an average gas boiler. Between £10,000 and £14,000, most people don’t have that amount of money lying around, not least because of mounting costs.
The good news is, within the next decade, heat pumps will come down in price as they’ll be produced in greater volumes. The gas boiler ban will help increase the availability of them as people start to switch to more sustainable heating methods.
At the moment, the government has a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps by 2028, but because of their initial cost and the lack of meaningful support, uptake has been slow. The current uptake equates to about 90,000 installs over three years, which is nowhere near it needs to be in order to hit this target.
Even more fortunately, Octopus Energy is looking to drive down the cost to around £2,500 after the government grant, which could be the start of a larger shift in our bid to go net zero, providing more companies are willing to get on board.