An Update on Green Homes Grants for Solar Thermal

After being launched as part of the government's plan to "build back greener" the Green Homes Grant scheme is now closed.

Only 6 months after launching in September 2020, to much fanfare, the scheme will come to an end at 5pm on Wednesday 31st March 2021. The previous end date was set to be 31st March 2022 after a recent decision to extend the initiative.


Solar Thermal Green Homes Grants

A Green Homes Grant voucher could entitle you to as much as £5,000 towards the installation of a renewable heating system or insulation. This solar panel grant includes the installation of solar thermal panels which capture the sun's heat to warm water in a hot water cylinder for free with no carbon emissions.

On the face of it, the Green Homes Grant initiative sounds like exactly what's needed to decarbonise houses across the UK. However, in reality, it's been unable to achieve what was initially promised.

An update on the scheme so far

The Green Homes Grant scheme was launched in September 2020 with the promise of making 600,000 households more energy efficient. On top of that, it would also create as many as 100,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector. Unfortunately, 6 months later and the scheme hasn't come close to reaching those numbers.

Initially, only 6 months sat between the scheme launching and the closing date. Fortunately, the government has seen sense and extended the scheme by 12 months to the 31st March 2022. On the downside, this has come at a cost as the scheme's funding will be slashed from the £1.5 billion it received between September 2020 and March 2021 to £350 million for the rest of 2021.

Interest in the scheme on the homeowner side has undoubtedly existed. Applications have been coming in but the rate at which they've been approved has been slow. As of January 2021, 69,200 applications were made by homeowners in England but only 38% of these had been approved. Only 2,600 households in England have been approved, received their voucher and had the work completed.

As of February 2021, only 1,300 installers have been approved onto the scheme. This is for the whole of the UK so many homeowners have found that there aren't any registered installers in their local area. With so few installers registered with the scheme, it's no surprise that the scheme has been struggling.

You can still apply for a Green Homes Grant

Applications for Green Homes Grants remain open as the scheme's end date has been extended to 31st March 2022. This means that you can still apply for a voucher of up to £5,000 (£10,000 for low-income households) to put towards the installation of solar thermal panels.

To make a successful application, you'll need:

  • Full name and date of birth of the property owner or owners
  • Full name and date of birth of those living in the property who are receiving benefits
  • A quote for the solar thermal panel installation from a TrustMark-registered installer
  • The TrustMark licence number of the installer

You can get free quotes for the installation of solar thermal panels right here on Solar Guide.

Are solar thermal panels right for your home?

Solar thermal panels capture heat from the sun and use it to warm up the water stored in a hot water cylinder. You'll then be able to run a hot tap, bath or shower knowing that it hasn't cost you a penny. As an added bonus, solar water heating doesn't release any carbon into the atmosphere.

A solar water heating system won't be suitable for every home. Firstly, you'll need a suitable roof that gets plenty of sunlight and has ample space for the solar thermal panels. Your heating system will also need to include a hot water cylinder which means having a system or regular boiler.

Once installed, you'll benefit from a solar water heating in a number of ways:

  • No running costs whatsoever
  • As much as 70% of your hot water will be heated for free by the sun
  • You could earn payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Only need to be serviced once every 3-5 years

If you have a combi boiler – which means that you won't have a hot water cylinder – then solar thermal panels won’t be a suitable heating system.

After installing solar thermal panels get a secondary grant

The installation of a renewable heating system is listed as a primary measure under the Green Homes Grant initiative. As is increasing the insulation of your property.

Once a homeowner's application has been approved and the work has been completed, they can then apply for a voucher of the same amount to complete a secondary measure.

These secondary measures include draught-proofing, energy efficient doors, double or triple glazing and heating controls. This will allow you to take the energy efficiency of your home even further.

Get quotes for solar thermal panels

To apply for a Green Homes Grant that will fund up to two-thirds of the cost of installing solar thermal panels, you'll first need a quote from a registered solar installer. Using Solar Guide, you can get free quotes from up to 4 solar thermal installers in your area.

It couldn't be simpler, all you need to do is complete our simple online form, letting us know that you want solar thermal panels installed. We'll then take care of the rest. You'll soon be contacted by up to 4 local companies who will each give a free no-obligation quote for the work.

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