Leeds City Council has launched a new scheme this week (3 January) aiming to provide free installation of energy saving green measures for hundreds of local households.
This new scheme, run by the council’s Home Energy Help team in partnership with energy services provider Everwarm, is supported by government funding to the tune of £15.5 million from the Home Upgrade Grant. To be eligible for this grant, a household must be low income, off the gas grid and have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) between D and G.
Under the scheme, the council plans to install new insulation, heat pumps and solar panels to eligible households free of charge. Landlords eligible for the scheme will receive two-thirds off any installation fees for the same improvements.
According to Leeds City Council, more than half of Leeds’ privately rented or owned homes received less than a ‘C’ grade for their EPC in 2021 and one in six households were classed as living in fuel poverty in 2020, meaning they live in a relatively inefficient home and have an income below the poverty line once energy bills are paid for.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space said: “While some homeowners can afford to invest in energy-saving measures with the right financial and technical advice, we know that many others will need additional support to access the benefits of green home upgrades.
“As a council, we’re determined to make it easier for Leeds homeowners and landlords to access the Home Energy Help they need to save money and cut carbon.”
Government grants to bolster energy efficiency and decarbonised heat
The Home Upgrade Grant, which launched in April 2023 and will run until March 2025, has seen similar funds allocated to different councils across England. This includes £10 million to both Liverpool and Manchester, as well as £12 million to the Greater London Authority, all of which is intended to provide energy efficiency upgrades and low carbon heating.
The scheme, and therefore grant, coincides with another government programme to incentivise heat pumps specifically. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), initially launched in May 2022, provides grants for heat pumps and biomass boilers.
As of October 2023, both ground and air source heats pump grants increased from £5,000 to £7,500, after which the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) reported a 57% uptick in applications.
Most recently, in December 2023, an additional £1.5 billion was invested in the scheme, potentially as a result of the 2025 deadline being extended to 2028 in the Powering Up Britain announcement in March.
Solar panels have also made recent advancements across the UK. In the past month alone, the nation’s first solar net zero substation consisting of 91 solar panels went live in Lancashire and two care homes in Dundee will be producing 90MWh of energy annually with their combined 280 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Both these stories can be found on our sister publication Solar Power Portal.