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Heat pumps could become cheaper and easier to install as innovation projects get £15m boost

Heat pumps could become cheaper and easier to install in future as the government has awarded more than £15m in funding for innovation projects.

It wants the pumps to cost the same as fossil fuel boilers to buy and run by 2030 at the latest with big reductions of at least 25-50% by 2025.

Ministers have set a target of 600,000 pumps to be installed a year by 2028 as they bid to accelerate the rollout so households move away from using costly fossil fuels.

Officials say the pumps are a “proven technology”, are much more efficient than traditional boilers and provide a reliable, low carbon heating solution for homes.

While a replacement gas boiler can cost around £1,000 to £3,000, an air source heat pump can cost between £7,000 and £14,000.

Some 24 projects in England and Scotland have won grants in the second round of the Heat Pump Ready programme.

How do they work?

More on Heat And Buildings Strategy

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a heat pump captures heat from outside and moves it into your home.

It uses electricity to do this, however the quantity of heat delivered into your home is much greater than the quantity of electricity used to power the system.

As a heat pump captures heat that is already present in the environment, the system itself does not burn any fuel and therefore emits no carbon dioxide.

The £60m scheme is developing innovative solutions for cutting barriers to the rollout of low carbon technology in homes and businesses across the UK.

The main objectives are to reduce costs and increase the performance of domestic heat pumps, minimise disruption in homes during the process of heat pump installation and develop financial models that support an increase in heat pump deployment.

Projects being helped by the ‘stream 2’ funding include one in Harrogate in North Yorkshire which is using data from smart meters to help optimise the running of a heat pump in a household energy system.

Also, a scheme in Truro in Cornwall is looking to develop efficient and ecological refrigerants that are used in heat pumps.

And a project in Thame in Oxfordshire is investigating ways to reduce the costs of installing and running a heat pump.

‘A proven, reliable technology’

The £15m stream 2 funding backs 37 small and medium enterprises across the 24 projects in England and Scotland, and will support the creation of more than 300 jobs.

This funding comes alongside the government’s £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme, that provides £5,000 grants to homeowners towards the cost of a heat pump, and a zero rate of VAT for installing clean heating measures and will make it an “even more affordable option for people looking to replace a gas or oil boiler in their property”.

Business and energy minister Lord Callanan said: “In light of rising global gas and oil prices, getting low-carbon heating technology into homes is a priority for this government as it will help households ditch the costly fossil fuels that are driving up bills.

“Heat pumps are a proven, reliable technology that uses cheaper renewable energy produced in the UK.

“We are already bringing costs down through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and slashing VAT to zero, but by finding innovative ways to make them even cheaper and easier to install, we will help more homes see the benefits even quicker.”

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