Clearer strategy needed to boost heat pump demand

Installers and consumers are looking to the government for a clearer strategy for heat pumps and future training, latest research shows.

Vaillant surveyed more than 1,300 installers, registered on Vaillant’s loyalty programme Advance, to get a deeper understanding of their barriers and motivators behind retraining to be able to offer customers low carbon technologies such as heat pumps.

An inquiry into the success of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme last month revealed that the uptake of retrofit heat pump technology in UK homes is slower than anticipated.

This was also reflected in the Vaillant research, with 82% of installers surveyed currently not installing heat pumps.

The majority of those who took part in the survey recognised a need to train, with 87% of installers answering ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ when asked if they were interested in undertaking air source heat pump training in the next 12 months, the company found.

The top three motivators of these installers looking to undertake heat pump training were future-proofing their business or career development, personal financial benefits from installing a diverse range of heating technologies, and the benefits for the environment by supporting the net zero agenda.

These motivators were largely similar for the 18% of installers who were already installing heat pumps, with their top three motivators being future-proofing their business, readying themselves for an expected increase in customer demand for heat pumps, and the environmental credentials installing heat pumps provides.

Time away from the tools also didn’t appear to be an immediate barrier to undertaking heat pump training, the research found. Out of the 994 installers who expressed an interest in upskilling, almost two thirds (64%) said they would still be interested in undertaking training after learning the required training time.

Mark Wilkins, technologies and training director for Vaillant, said: “Whilst it’s encouraging to see that most installers are keen to upskill with additional heat pump training, some are also wary about the demand from consumers being low – and we’ve seen this through the recent BUS inquiry. In our response to this inquiry, we have urged the government to set a clear strategy for consumer education and awareness to help drive demand for heat pumps and therefore the training required for installers.

“The Heat Training Grant is a significant step towards making heat pump training more accessible for the installer community, wherever they are in their career. I’m delighted that Vaillant is also supporting this scheme, and we are working diligently with our training partners and internal teams to enhance our current heat pump training offer to ensure it simplifies the process for installers, providing them with cost-effective and accessible training to gain the relevant qualifications to take a heat pump installation through from the design stage all the way to commissioning.”

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