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BUS - Boiler Upgrade Scheme (Heat Pumps)
What is the BUS?
New Heat Pump Grant Available What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme? The Boiler Upgrade Scheme has now been launched in England and Wales to help homeowners afford the upfront costs of installing low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps. The government has created the scheme, currently set to run from 2022 to 2025, to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating to support the decarbonisation of buildings. Upfront capital grants will be provided to help with the installation of heat pumps and in limited cases, biomass boilers, in homes and some non-domestic buildings.
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The grant will only cover biomass boilers in rural locations with populations of 10,000 people or less and in properties that are not connected to the gas grid. Your home must also meet high emissions standards to have a biomass boiler installed, which the government says is “to mitigate any negative impact on air quality.” The aim is to increase the deployment of low carbon heating across England and Wales.
Who is administering the BUS Scheme? The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for the scheme policy and legislation and has named Ofgem as the administrator for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. Ofgem has published guidance for installers on creating BUS accounts and will be publishing comprehensive procedural guidance for the scheme before the 23rd of May.
How Much Can You Receive? Grants of £7500 will be available for homeowners to have air source heat pumps (ASHP) or ground source heat pumps (GSHP), in some cases for biomass boilers or water source heat pumps (WSHP).
The grants will be offered at a flat rate and will not differ by capacity of installation, which must not exceed 45kWth. The £450m policy which is expected to benefit just 90,000 homes is part of a bigger scheme of funding of more than £3.9bn announced in the government’s 2021 Heat and Buildings Strategy to help cut carbon emissions from homes.
When can you apply? Low carbon heating systems that are commissioned on or after the 1st of April will be entitled to support under the scheme. Installers who want to submit applications for grants under the scheme will be required to create a BUS installer account which can be created from the 11th of April. Installers must be MCS certified to take part in the scheme. Though installers can set up their accounts from the 11th of April, applications for BUS vouchers and grants can’t be submitted until the 23rd of May2022.
Is Your Property Eligible? You may be eligible if:
- You live in England or Wales.
- You own your own property (whether this is a home or a small non-domestic property.
- Your property has an installation capacity of up to 45kWth (this applies to most homes)
- Your property has a valid Energy performance Certificate (EPC) typically one that has been issued in the last 10 years (unless you have an insulation exemption)
Other Reasons for Ineligibility
- New build properties will not normally be eligible. The only exemption is if you’re building your own home.
- Though the scheme is open to small and private landlords it is not available for social housing.
- You are not eligible if you are replacing an existing low-carbon heating system. Only properties which are fully replacing existing fossil fuel systems (such as oil, gas or direct electric) will be eligible for support.
- For your EPC to be valid you must have no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. If you do, you'll need to insulate your home before applying for the scheme.
How Long Do Your Vouchers Last? To ensure the vouchers are used in a timely manner and so that unused vouchers can be recycled, applicants will have a set validity period. The validity period will be three months for air source heat pumps and biomass boiler vouchers, and six months for ground source heat pump vouchers. You can still apply for the BUS if you’ve received separate funding for energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, doors or windows.
How Does the Scheme Work for Property Owners? Your installer will apply for the grant on your behalf. The value of the grant will be discounted off the price you pay. Redeeming of the voucher will be led by the installer, who will confirm proof of the installation and process the completed paperwork. It is advisable to get quotes from more than one installer to make sure you’re getting the best value for money.
- Find an MCS certified installer in your area who can carry out the work. (The MCS quality assurance scheme ensures that installers are competent, and the products they use meet the correct standards.)
- The installer will advise you whether an installation is eligible for a grant.
- You agree a quote for the installation.
- Your installer applies for the grant.
- You confirm that the installer is acting on your behalf when you’re contacted by Ofgem.
What Installers Need to do to Join the Scheme
- Installers will need a verified installer account in order to make BUS applications when the scheme is open to applications in May.
- If you are already an MCS accredited heating installer, you can get a head-start by creating your BUS account now.
- Ofgem strongly encourages installers to read the detailed guidance about creating a BUS installer account.
The person who creates the account must:
- Have the legal authority to act on behalf of the business.
- Agree to be the business’s ‘authorised representative’ for the scheme. An authorised representative is someone whose identity has been checked and who is Ofgem’s first point of contact should Ofgem ever need to speak to someone about the account.
- If your business is a limited company, the person creating the account must be a company director or company secretary who is listed on the Companies House register. If you are a sole trader, you will not be registered on Companies House. However, Ofgem will still need to verify your identity.
- The authorised representative will need to download and complete the editable BUS installer account form.
- The form then needs to be emailed along with all supporting evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full supporting evidence requirements are listed on the BUS account form. They include:
- A valid form of photo identity, e.g., Passport or driving license
- A proof of address e.g., a recent utility bill
- A business bank account statement from the last 3 months
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