Scotland reaches renewable milestone, MCS reveals

(l-r) Emma Bohan, IMS Heat Pumps' managing director, and Lee Brown, IMS Heat Pumps' operations director

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

That means 200,000 home and business owners have invested in low-carbon energy and heating solutions including solar PV and heating technologies for their buildings. The latest installation figures show that over 35,000 of these installations are heat pumps.

MCS data reveals that just over 5,000 heat pumps have been installed in Scotland this year already, making 2023 Scotland’s best year ever for heat pump uptake.

Since its launch in 2015, the Home Energy Scotland Grant (HES) and Loan has played a part in Scotland’s transition away from fossil fuel boilers to heat pumps. The HES grant provides Scottish consumers with £7,500 towards the cost of a heat pump, with some Scottish households able to claim up to £9,000 with a rural uplift. The grant is an attractive incentive for Scottish homeowners which is also bolstered by an optional interest-free loan of up to an additional £7,500.

Daniel Merrett of Monikie, a rural village near Dundee, had an air source heat pump installed by IMS Heat Pumps in January, through the funding available from the HES grant. Daniel said: “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, added: “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 offering provided north of the border.”

The Scottish government also provides heating engineers with a grant to become MCS certified for heat pumps. The grant will pay 75%, up to a maximum of £1,000, of a contractors’ certification fees until the end of March 2024.

A report published by the Heat Pump Association (HPA), “Unlocking Widescale Heat Pump Deployment in the UK”, made a series of recommendations to local and national government officials to support the mass-scale rollout of low-carbon heating. The report urged England, Wales and Northern Ireland to introduce similar support for installers such as the MCS Certification fund in Scotland to grow the workforce.

The HPA also recommended that those governments should introduce both rural uplifts and interest-free loans, as Scotland does, to optimise the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and other national policies.

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