Heat pumps are steering Scotland’s pathway to net zero

Heat pumps are steering Scotland’s pathway to net zero

According to MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme), Scotland has surpassed 200,000 small-scale renewable technology installations since records began in 2008.


This indicates that 200,000 homeowners and business proprietors have invested in low carbon energy and heating solutions, encompassing solar PV and heating technologies. Recent installation statistics reveal that over 35,000 of these installations are heat pumps. 


Heat pumps are highly efficient and sustainable heating solutions, playing a crucial role in Scotland’s plans to reach net zero by 2045. Historically, Scotland has been a frontrunner among the four nations in heat pump adoption, boasting 1.42% installation in Scottish households. According to MCS data, over 5,000 heat pumps have been installed in Scotland this year, marking 2023 as the most successful year for heat pump intake.


Since its inception in 2015, the Home Energy Scotland Grant (HES) and Loan have facilitated Scotland’s shift from fossil fuel boilers to heat pumps. The HES grant offers Scottish consumers £7,500 towards the expense of a heat pump, with some households able to claim up to £9,000 with a rural uplift. The grant is an enticing incentive for Scottish homeowners, bolstered by an optional interest-free loan of up to an additional £7,500.


Utilising the available funding from the HES grant, Daniel Merrett of Monikie, a rural village near Dundee, opted for an air source heat pump installation by IMS Heat Pumps in January. Daniel says, “The cost was a significant factor, and the funding available towards the installation cost was the deciding factor for me.”


Lee Brown, Operations Director at IMS Heat Pumps, comments, “Heat pumps are an obvious option for rural homes, particularly those off the gas grid. The incentive scheme offered by the Scottish Government is a huge help for homeowners in Scotland looking to decarbonising their home heating, and we’re pleased to see incentive schemes in England and Wales have recently been brought closer to the level of the offering provided north of the border.”


The Scottish Government offers a grant program to support heating engineers in obtaining MCS certification for heat pumps. The grant covers 75% of a contractor’s certification fees, a maximum of £1,000, until the end of March 2024. This incentive encourages heating engineers to shift from the installation of fossil fuel boilers towards the installation of high-quality MCS-certified heat pumps. 


A recent report from the Heat Pump Association (HPA), titled ‘Unlocking Widescale Heat Pump Deployment in the UK’, made recommendations directed at local and national government officials to support the large-scale adoption of low carbon heating, amongst the suggestions included urging England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to introduce support for installers akin to Scotland’s MCS Certification fund to expand the workforce. 


The UK’s renewable technology uptake can be tracked through the MCS Data Dashboard, a comprehensive tool for instantaneous, low carbon technology data in the UK.

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