The new Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), was launched on 23rd May 2022.
Replacing the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which ended in March 2022. Ofgem went to great lengths to overcome the hurdles to which the RHI scheme was subject, but only time will tell if it succeeded. In theory, the scheme is more straightforward.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) will aid the decarbonisation of heat in buildings, providing property owners with help towards upfront capital costs as follows:
- £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
- £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump (including water source heat pumps)
To apply for the grant
The installation company or installer must be certified with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). In addition, the property owner at the installation address must own the heat pump after it is installed.
- The system cannot exceed the maximum capacity of 45kWh (including a system limit of 45kWh for shared ground loops).
- It must be commissioned on or after 1st April 2022
- It must be an entirely new installation and not a replacement of a previous heat pump system.
- The system must heat the entire space and water heating demands of the property.
- Has a minimum seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) rating of 2.8, according to the MCS database.
- The homeowner will need a valid Energy Performance Certificate [EPC] for their home, showing that all insulation requirements have been previously met, based on the ‘fabric first’ approach.
- Finally, it must not be associated with any other grant, such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
Installation companies/installers must register an online account with Ofgem before making an application and can add additional users to the account. Only those who are MCS certified can create an account. For heating engineers that do not individually hold the MCS certification, it is permitted to go through an umbrella scheme, where an MCS-certified engineer will sign off on your behalf and have the main Ofgem account.
The grant application is a two-stage process
- Submit a voucher application
- Meet the criteria which are set out above
- Submit evidence for voucher redemption:
- Meet the criteria, including:
- MCS certificate with commissioning data and total installed capacity
- The submission must take place within the vouchers validation period (three months air source / six months ground source)
- Meet the criteria, including:
It is important to note that the installer must have an agreement with the property owner to submit a voucher. Ofgem will contact the property owner for consent to the BUS voucher application being made. The timescale between the installer’s submitted voucher and redemption application to these being processed is around three months unless Ofgem is inundated or the homeowner’s consent is delayed.
There is a lot of focus at the moment based on the application of heat pumps into our built environment, especially within the domestic sector. Whilst initiatives to increase the uptake of renewable energy products are always welcome, the BUS doesn’t hold all the answers, just like its predecessors.
Smaller grants through the BUS favour smaller capacity systems, which in principle should work in unison with reduced heat losses from a well-insulated property but will still only cover part of the list price of a heat pump system. The rest of the installation costs, which will be at the very least the same as the BUS grant, are incurred by the homeowner. At least with the previous Renewable Heat Incentive, it would be possible to recuperate all incurred costs over the payback period – A much more attractive proposal!Andrew Slater
Installer guidance for the complete property eligibility criteria for the BUS scheme is available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/boiler-upgrade-scheme-guidance-installers.
Property owner guidance is available at https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/boiler-upgrade-scheme-guidance-property-owners