Government Grant Will Not Meet Heat Pump Demand, Report Suggests

Outdoor unit of heat pump heating of residential house framed by roses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The potential demand for heat pumps could be far beyond what the government can provide through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, a new report shows. 

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which officially opened for applications in May, provides grants of £5,000 for air source heat pumps and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps. But only 90,000 homes are expected to benefit over its three-year run time. 

Meanwhile, 22% of respondents to the latest BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker survey said they were likely to install any type of heat pump, either air source, ground source or hybrid. 

A total of 4,376 people were surveyed in the Spring 2022 survey, and this response potentially equates to a market of nearly 3.6 households in the UK which want to install heat pumps. 

The government has a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, but it is being challenged to take further action to ensure this target is met. Around 1.3 heat pumps are sold per 1,000 households in the UK, the lowest installation rate of all European countries. 

David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at MCS Charitable Foundation, said: “It is unsurprising that demand for heat pumps is so high among homeowners, as they are the most efficient form of heating technology and can massively reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to scale up heat pump installations and are urging the government to extend the Boiler Upgrade Scheme for a further two years.”

Cost Remains a Barrier

As well as expanding the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, MCS Charitable Foundation has called for new funding to help bring down cost of installations so that heat pumps could soon be at cost parity with gas boilers.

A recent DG Cities survey revealed that cost is a major barrier to homeowners adopting low-carbon heating systems, with 53% of 569 respondents saying they believed purchase and installation costs are too high. 

The survey also revealed that 46% did not know about the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and 60% would not use it. 

The cost to replace a gas boiler with a heat pump can be significant, but heat pumps provide longer-term financial benefits because you will likely see a reduction in your heating bills due to increased energy savings. 

Moreover, heat pumps tend to have a longer life expectancy of between 10-15 years whereas condensing boilers have an average life expectancy of around seven years. 

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.