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Low carbon heating nears 1k installs under Green Homes Grant as applications remain high

Low carbon heating including heat pumps made up 15.6% of total installations under the Green Homes Grant. Image: Daikin.

Low carbon heating including heat pumps made up 15.6% of total installations under the Green Homes Grant. Image: Daikin.

There have been 5,804 installations of green technology to date under the Green Homes Grant, with 906 of these being low carbon heating.

This is according to the latest figures released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), showing that despite there having only been close to 6,000 installations, as of the end of February 2021 there have been 123,537 voucher applications.

Of those, 28,277 vouchers have been issued and 2,908 vouchers paid.

Including installations done this month, low carbon heating made up 15.6%, with solar thermal being the most popular choice at 443 installations.

Air source heat pumps came close behind with 388, followed by hybrid heat pumps with 72 installations. Only one ground source heat pump has been installed under the scheme, with this installation taking place in January 2021.

February was the strongest month for low carbon heating installations with a total of 481, almost double the second highest month of January when there were 231.

The largest number of installations regardless of technology were in the South East with 1,176 - or 20% - and East of England, with 919 measures or 16%.

Jess Ralston, analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, warned that the low conversion of voucher applications to installations will "cause concern", pointing to how the continued high interest in the scheme evidenced in the figures will "pile more pressure on government to bring in a replacement and avoid breaking its promises to makes our homes greener".

The Green Homes Grant - which was first introduced in September 2020 - has been plagued with problems throughout its lifespan. These have largely been surrounding administrative delays - the scheme is administered by American firm ICF - with members of the public waiting months to be issued vouchers and there being delays in installers being paid.

Additionally, it was announced in February that any unspent funding would not be rolled over into 2021/22, with NGOs and thinktanks writing a letter to the Prime Minister detailing how this could be up to £1.4 billion and describing the scheme as having been "beset with challenges".

Indeed, a number of organisations have come forward to criticise the scheme, with a separate letter sent to the Prime Minister and Chancellor the same month from 19 organisations calling for the Chancellor to continue the Green Homes Grant to not "derail" the green recovery following reports the scheme would shutter early.

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