Cashback scheme seeks to stimulate the Green Deal

In a bid to stimulate the Green Deal for homes, DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) has introduced a range of cashback incentives to encourage the installation of energy-efficiency measures such as new heating systems and solid-wall installation. Under the scheme, domestic energy customers can get up to £1000 for installing two measures from an approved list, and/or up to £6000 for installing solid-wall insulation, and up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal assessment.

Buyers of a property in the 12 months before application can qualify for up to an additional £500.

The scheme is called the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. Greg Barker, Climate Change Minister, said, ‘The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is another way the Government is making it simpler and cheaper for people to stay warm and improve their homes.

‘The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund also applies to private or social landlords, who can benefit if they undertake to improve the property and are paying the costs themselves.’

As soon as the announcement was made, OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association) pointed out that the scheme did not include the replacement of oil-fired boilers in off-gas areas — 1.1 million rural homes. As the month progressed, the Scottish Government changed its stance to allow householders to upgrade oil boilers. As we went to press, there was no change in the position for England and Wales.

In a separate announcement, the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC), which finances and administers Green Deal Plans, announced the immediate removal of early-repayment charges on all future Green Deal Plans. Early-repayment charges applied to loans to be repaid over 15 years or more; the maximum charge was £6 for each year left on the loan for every £1000 paid early.

The GDFC has welcomed the new incentives but points out they do not fully fund projects, hence the continuing need for Green Deal Finance. GDFC believes that these measures will stimulate demand. It has over 2400 plans moving through its systems and has committed nearly £9 million to fund Green Deal payment plants. 50 firms can now offer Green Deal finance.

Kevin Down, network operations manager for the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies, which has 50 ‘Green Deal ready) providers, said, ‘While no-one can deny its slow start, it’s clear from this latest funding incentive that the Government wants the Green Deal to work. The Green Deal provides new market opportunities and, along with the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed in Tariffs, positions our sector as a key player in combating climate change.’

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