Essex man says he's made £12,000 after installing two heat pumps, solar panels and investing in wind energy

Air to air heat pump for cooling or heating the home
Air source heat pumps are growing in popularity in the UK (Image credit: Getty Images)

A homeowner from Essex claims to have made £12,000 by installing a pair of air source heat pumps, solar panels and an investment in a consumer-owned wind farm.

Adrian Bond is an early adopter of energy efficiency after installing two air source heat pumps at his four-bedroom detached property in Colchester in 2007 as well as solar panels to generate electricity for them to run off.

It meant the 49 year-old was well-placed when the Ukraine war among other factors caused gas and electricity prices to soar to unprecedented levels, and has ultimately meant he has saved a fortune in energy bills.

Homeowner chose to install two heat pumps

The homeowner invested in air source heat pumps 16 years ago, long before the UK Government began incentivising air source heat pump installation as part of its push towards net-zero. He chose to install two heat pumps at  the time, to provide both air conditioning and heating for his property.

Heat pumps move heat from one place to another. They use a compressor and a circulating structure of liquid or gas refrigerant to extract heat from outside sources and pump it indoors. The technology has been put forward as an energy-efficient alternative to traditional gas boilers and electric heating and some models, like those he opted for, work both as air conditioning and as a heat source.

There are two different types – air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air, while ground source heat pumps use pipes buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground.

The 49-year-old also chose to install £8,000 solar panels in 2014, which have generated income for him by producing enough energy to sell back to the grid. He currently makes 5p for every kWh he sells back to the National Grid but on older sell-back schemes this was eight times more.

Investing £25 in wind turbines

Last year the engineer invested £25 into Graig Fatha, Ripple Energy’s first ever consumer-owned windfarm in the UK.

Ripple launched Graig Fatha in summer 2020 and is now owned by more than 900 members as well as being supported by a grant from the Welsh Government.

Investors receive affordable and clean electricity via the grid and the company claims a typical household is expected to save on average £232, alongside collectively reducing their carbon footprint by 1 million kg of CO2.

Netting him £12,000 from green energy

Mr Bond estimates he has made in excess of £12,000 as a result of his investments and spends just £120 a month on energy bills.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “I used to invest in stocks and shares but I barely came away with my shirt. But this shows that if you invest in the right thing it does sometimes work out.”

Reaping the benefits of green investments, such as air source heat pump costs, is expensive but cases like Mr Bond’s - where he's cleverly latched on to green energy nice and early - show the long-term benefits.

Okay, so how much to install a heat pump now?

So what is the cost to replace a gas boiler with a heat pump? It’s not cheap, even with the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme grant funding of up to £6,000 for heat pump installation.

Installing an air source heat pump in a new home could cost in the region of between £5,000 and £10,000, but this can rise anywhere up to £30,000 in an existing home if it requires the installation of a completely new radiator system and new pipework, according to David Hilton, director of Heat & Energy Ltd and contributor to Homebuilding & Renovating. 

A basic ground source heat pump, meanwhile, can cost between £2,000 to £15,000 depending on size and brand. This cost is likely to be three to four times more expensive than a gas combi boiler. However, the government hopes that heat pumps could cost the same as gas boilers by 2030

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.