EDF Energy unveils neighbourhood share scheme to drive heat pump uptake

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Energy supplier EDF has unveiled two new projects designed to accelerate the uptake of heat pumps, as well as making them more affordable and easier to install. 

Air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps can be prohibitively expensive for some homeowners to install, and these new government-funded projects are designed to make switching to heat pumps more attractive. 

One of these projects is a programme inviting homeowners to share a ground source array, or loop, that could power multiple heat pumps on a street. The other is an app that can help homeowners choose the most appropriate low-carbon heating system for their home. 

The projects have received funding from the government’s Heat Pump Ready Programme, which is financing a range of projects across the UK.

Patrick Dupeyrat, EDF UK R&D Director, said: “This marks an exciting new chapter for heat pump deployment in the UK. These two innovative projects will accelerate the country’s road to net zero, while providing customers with vital support as they decarbonise their heating in a cost-efficient way.”

How communal heat pump schemes work

EDF Energy’s ‘Neighbourhood Heat Pump’ scheme will offer households the chance to share a ground source heat pump loop with their neighbours. 

Schemes like this already exist: such as Kensa Utilities’ Heat the Streets project, whereby multiple ground arrays connect to a shared ground loop array, which can be used as an energy source for multiple ground source heat pumps.

The benefits of this type of communal scheme include reduced installation costs and improved energy efficiency for participating homes. 

An initial trial for the project has been lined up for the Teignmouth area in South Devon, which EDF hopes will demonstrate an innovative, efficient way to deploy heat pumps domestically across the UK.

Choose your heat pump via an app

EDF’s second project is the One-stop Heat Pump App, which it is developing alongside partners such as Daikin, Scottish Power Energy Networks and the University of Sheffield.

Once available, it will help households choose the right heat pump for their home, which is not an easy decision. Knowing how to choose heat pumps depends on a myriad of factors including heat pump size and installation, and the app is designed to make this process easier. 

It will guide households through the heat pump process through a single platform across the main phases of installation. A pre-survey assessment will be created where your answers to a few questions will be matched with data on publicly available housing data to determine your eligibility for a heat pump.

The app will also offer ‘post-installation aftercare’ following the installation of a heat pump.

Tackling the cost of heat pumps

Even with funding assistance, such as the £5,000 and £6,000 grants you can receive via the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme, heat pumps remain costly investments for homeowners. 

Installing an air source heat pump can cost between £12,000 and £17,000, EDF Energy says, while ground source heat pumps can cost up to £19,000 and higher to install, depending on the complexity of the system.

The government’s investment into the future of heat pumps is intended to reduce these costs, and ministers hope that by 2030 heat pumps could cost the same as gas boilers

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.