Ministers and industry are promoting electric heat pumps as the ‘obvious’ choice for low carbon heating in UK households, with grants available through the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme. 

The £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, launched in May, offers property owners £5,000 off the cost and installation of air source heat pumps and biomass boilers, and £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump. These technologies are also zero-VAT rated for the next five years.

British manufacturing

It is hoped the scheme will kick-start the British heat pump manufacturing industry, helping the government and industry to continue bringing down the cost of the technology to ensure they are no more expensive to buy and run than fossil fuel boilers by 2030. Cost reductions of between a quarter and a half are expected by 2025 as the market expands and technology develops.

With the market for heat pumps set to rapidly expand in Europe over the coming years, the government is also eyeing the export opportunity for British firms in research and development, production, supply chain and installation. Earlier in the year, the government announced a £30 million accelerator fund to support the sector as part of its Energy Security Strategy.


Launching the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in May, energy minister Greg Hands said it would make heat pumps “the cheaper, obvious choice” for households choosing to replace their fossil fuel boiler. However, concerns around the technology are still widespread.

A recent government-funded study has shown that there is no property type or age that is completely unsuitable for a heat pump – although older properties face some additional challenges.

Henk van den Berg, strategic business manager at heat pump manufacturer Daikin UK, said: “Changing the way you heat your home is a big decision, but the government is backing heat pumps for a reason. Homeowners can visit our showrooms up and down the country – where we also train installers – to see the technology in action, before making a confident, positive decision to go green.”

The Energy Saving Trust has published a myth-busting blog to tackle some of the misconceptions around the technology, such as concerns around cold weather, insulation, running costs and noise. It has also created an in-depth guide to provide more information on the technology.

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