With the recent changes to tariffs for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), is now the right time for heating installers to seriously look again at heat pumps as an alternative or even an add-on to traditional forms of heating?
Domestic RHI tariffs changed in December, with the rate for air source heat pumps increasing by 33% (from 7.51p to 10.02p/kWh). Whilst ground source tariffs also increased slightly, the rate for biomass has been brought back up a little and solar thermal continues to be eligible, air source heat pumps have been recognised by government as one of the quickest and most straightforward ways of introducing renewable heating to a home.
Mitsubishi Electric has now started seeing an increase in situations where its Ecodan air source heat pump is simple ‘bolted on’ to an existing heating system, to work alongside oil, gas or LPG in a hybrid situation. This can avoid the need to replace or upgrade the radiators, cylinder and pipework, making the addition of renewable heating more affordable and more achievable.
Of course, any renewable heating that the home gets from the heat pump is then eligible for RHI payments for seven years and this can act as a form of income for the homeowner.
“The best air source heat pump systems already come with intelligent controls that decide when to use the existing heating and when to use the renewable heat pump,” explains Russell Dean, National Renewable Heating Sales Manager for Mitsubishi Electric.
“What this also means is that there is little or no impact to the household, apart from having a reliable and renewable system – which can actually offer them more control of their heating and their bills.”
For domestic situations, RHI payments are paid every quarter for seven years after successful registration and, although it does require MCS (Micro Certifications Scheme) accreditation, which we will cover in a future column, once set up and running, the heat pump will quickly pay for itself in RHI payments and running cost savings.
Manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Electric provide comprehensive training courses at their offices nationwide, to make things as easy as possible for installers. The best systems also come with SD card commissioning, making it possible to set up the system off-site and speeding up the installation.
So, is now the time to look at adding heat pumps as another string to your bow?