Free heat pump scheme promises to help firms tackle rising energy bills

Published on Friday, 27 July 2012 10:07
Written by Vicki Mitchem

You've heard of free solar, but now one company has launched a scheme offering to install free ground source heat pumps (GSHP) for businesses.

Ardenham Energy this week launched a venture dubbed Sun and Soil, which offers to fund and fit ground source heat pumps to provide renewable heating and hot water to heat-intensive businesses, such as leisure centres and care homes.

The offer is only available for businesses that are off the gas grid and currently use oil or gas boilers, or electric immersion heaters, many of which are facing sharp rises in energy bills due to climbing fossil fuel prices.

The company said it would install the heat pump and maintain it free of charge, in return for a "small" payment for the electricity used and a portion of the Renewable Heat Incentive payments that the company will receive.

Andy Allen, director of the Sun and Soil programme, told BusinessGreen that this was the first funded heat pump project of its kind.

"As far as we are aware this is the first time businesses of all types... who are heat users and are off the gas grid, can switch over to operating a GSHP with no installation cost, which as you know is usually the barrier to deployment given that costs commonly reach £80,000 to £400,000 per install," he said, adding that the company expects to generate interest from a wide range of firms, including hotels, schools, care homes and leisure centres.

As an example, the company predicts a care home currently operating two oil boilers could save £9,600 in the first year after installing the heat pump, while savings could exceed £20,331 by the 10th year of operation.

As ground source heat pumps require electricity to operate, Ardenham also said it could fit solar panels on suitable properties to help offset any rise in electricity bills for the customer.

Source: ©BusinessGreen

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