NIBE shares new GSHP paper

NIBE Energy Systems has published a new policy paper that includes a scheme to support the installation of ground source heat pump (GSHP) infrastructure to enable greater uptake in the UK.

It has shared the paper with BEIS and industry representatives.

The paper proposes a radical new policy solution to fund 100 years of GSHP infrastructure.

This, a company statement said, would help finance the ground works for GSHPs, “making their cost comparable to gas boilers through a fee paid regularly by the household” to pay back the initial capex for the ground works.

GSHPs work by extracting warmth from underground by pumping water through a network of large pipes buried in a property’s garden, via boreholes that can reach several kilometres.

The recently announced Clean Heat Grant was welcomed by the heat pump sector, however concerns have been raised about the predicted uptake and the suitability of the flat £4,000 grant for GSHPs. It is the cost of the groundworks which makes GSHPs more expensive than their air source counterparts but both technologies have a role to play in delivering the net zero aspirations, NIBE added.

Just 11,000 GSHPs were installed under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in March 2020 compared to over 46,000 air source heat pumps, despite applications for domestic RHI reaching a four year high, it said, adding that mechanisms to support deployment must be tailored to ensure that all homes and business are able to access low carbon heating.

NIBE added that it believes the groundworks needed for GSHPs should be seen as a long-term infrastructure investment and policy should be designed to encourage deployment. “Incentivising energy infrastructure investments such as boreholes should help to deliver increased uptake of this low-carbon technology,” the paper added.