What is a biomass boiler?
Biomass boilers provide heating and hot water by burning natural materials such as wood pellets, wood chips, or logs. The term biomass refers to any organic materials which can be used as fuel, with the majority of biomass products that are used in domestic settings being wood based-for a ‘cleaner’ burn. In the UK, wood pellets are one of the most popular biomass fuel choices due to their typically consistent size and ease of storage. These are typically made using forestry waste or by-products. Biomass boilers are typically significantly more expensive than traditional fossil fuel boilers and even most air source heat pumps, costing between £11000 and £25000. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme for biomass boilers is also only available in very limited circumstances. Find out more via the government website.
Can I claim for other grants and funding?
You can still apply if you’ve received separate funding for energy efficiency upgrades such as for insulation, or for doors or windows.
Can I replace an existing low carbon system with BUS funding?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is only available to those replacing existing fossil fuel systems such as oil, gas or direct electric, and therefore funding is not available for those replacing existing low carbon systems.
What’s the difference between the BUS and the RHI?
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (or RHI) was the preceding government scheme which ran until March 2022. This operated using a tariff-based system based on property efficiency and with payments being made to homeowners on a quarterly basis over the seven-year period following installation. This scheme therefore meant that homeowners were paying the full up-front cost with slow repayments, whereas the BUS has replaced this funding with an upfront flat rate discount. Unlike the RHI, the BUS also has more specific system eligibility criteria, requiring 100% of the heating and hot water load to be covered, excluding hybrid and heat-only systems, and requiring a minimum SCOP of 2.8 (as opposed to RHI’s minimum of 2.5).
Is this scheme affected by the VAT cut on energy saving materials?
From 1st April 2022 until 31st March 2027, the Government has announce that a zero rate of VAT will apply to the installation of specified energy-saving materials (find out more here). This will therefore cover the entire period of the BUS and will apply to any eligible materials.