Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) Quick Guide
Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) - the latest on the scheme
Despite having the word 'boiler' in the title, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, or BUS for short, is an upfront government grant of £5k for fitting an air source heat pump (ASHP) or a biomass boiler and £6k grant for fitting a ground source heat pump (GSHP). The scheme will replace the outgoing Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) with a voucher-based system. BUS will run from 1st April 2022 - 31 March 2025.
- Eligibility criteria by property
- Eligible technologies
- How the voucher scheme works
- Time limits
- Consumer protection
- Post installation requirements
The new BUS scheme is designed to encourage households in England and Wales to switch to an ASHP, GSHP or biomass boiler via upfront grants. A total of £450 million has been allocated, with a cap of £150 million per year. The scheme will part fund the installation of up to 90,000 renewable heat sources over the next three years.
2) Eligibility criteria by property
Eligibility varies according to technology, as set out below. For the purposes of clarity, households do not need to have a whole-house retrofit assessment. As per the current RHI scheme, households must have an EPC (that is less than 10 years old) with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation.
NB not having loft or cavity wall insulation does not prevent you from applying for the voucher, but they must fitted during the voucher period before the installation.
ASHP and GSHP
- Must be replacing a fossil fuel boiler of any kind or direct electric heating system (such as storage heaters, electric panel radiators or an electric boiler).
- Custom new builds are eligible and do not require an EPC.
- If you are in a listed property or conservation area the same exemptions apply as they did for the RHI.
- Only rural homes are eligible, i.e. homes outside areas of 10,000 people or more
- Only off-grid homes are eligible, i.e. if you are on mains gas in a rural area you will not be eligible
- The biomass boiler requires the relevant emissions certificate
3) Eligible technologies
- MCS accredited ASHPs, GSHPs and biomass boilers are eligible.
- ASHPs and GSHPs must have a minimum efficiency in the home of 2.8 SCOP
- Hybrid systems - comprising a gas or oil boiler and heat pump - are not eligible.
- ‘Heat-only’ systems where the heat pump or biomass boiler only provides space heating and hot water is supplied by a fossil fuel boiler. Immersions for topping up the hot water and for anti-legionella protection are permitted. Solar thermal is also permitted as long as the heat pump or biomass boiler is set up to meet the full space and water heating demand.
5) How the voucher scheme works
The voucher scheme is in two stages and is fully ‘installer-led’, which means the installer will apply for the voucher on your behalf and claim the voucher rebate at the end of the works:
Stage 1: voucher application
You must go to an MCS registered installer who will provide you with a quote and make the application for the voucher. The quote is required to give you an idea of price before proceeding further. A single installer will lead the voucher application process, however you are encouraged to seek other quotes. The value of the voucher will be deducted from the installation cost, i.e. you will pay the lower price and the installer will claim the voucher directly.
Stage 2: voucher redemption
On completion, the MCS installer will submit evidence including proof of installation and technical evidence relating to the installation, commissioning and building eligibility. The grant will be paid directly to the installer.
6) Time limits
ASHP and biomass vouchers have a 3-month time limit, i.e. the works must be completed and the voucher claimed in that period or the voucher will be recycled back into the funding pot. GSHP vouchers have a 6-month time limit.
If it looks at though the £150m funding will run out before the end of the financial year, a quarterly cap will be introduced to limit vouchers and widely publicised. If the cap is in place, vouchers may run out before the end quarter and you will have to wait until the next quarter to apply.
7) Consumer protection
All the same consumer protection measures apply to BUS as they did under the RHI. Consumers are well protected if certified companies are used. We advise you to read our consumer protection blog for all the steps and checks to make to ensure you are fully protected.
The voucher scheme has been designed to focus on pre-installation audit and compliance checks to ensure eligibility. Some changes have taken place to the MCS certification practices, whereby the design and installation of systems can be carried out by different parties.
8) Post installation requirements
In short, there are none. Households are not required to report on the performance of the system after installation and smart metering/monitoring (currently funded) is only encouraged and there is no funding.
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