A range of financial support measures are in place to help homeowners upgrade their heating systems. They include grants for boiler upgrades, finance schemes to spread the purchase costs and annual payments for homeowners that install approved renewable heating systems.
The Boiler Replacement Allowance is a package worth £4M pa over the next three years, promoted by the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development Scheme and administered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Owner occupiers whose total gross income is less than £40,000 are eligible and the allowance is available to help with the cost of replacing boilers which are 15 years or older with new condensing oil boilers. The amount payable will depend on your total income, with those earning less than £20,000 receiving £700 for replacing their boiler, rising to £1,000 if controls are also being installed. For those earning £20,000 or more but less than £40,000 the grant is £400 for replacing their boiler, rising to £500 if controls are fitted.
From 2014 the British government is offering payments to homeowners who install renewable heating, under a scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive. The scheme has strict entry criteria, including a requirement for a Green Deal energy assessment, and the installed system must meet approved performance standards, which include a ‘Seasonal Performance Factor’ of 2.5 (equal to a MCS 3 star rating). You can claim RHI payments for the renewable element of a hybrid heating system providing the renewable element can be metered and the installation was carried out by an MCS accredited installer. The payments vary depending on the technology installed but are generous enough to make upgrading to a hybrid system well worth considering.
A similar scheme is likely to operate in Northern Ireland and is currently the subject of a public consultation.