Following the news that the government’s domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is to be delayed until 2014, industry tries to focus on “crumbs of comfort for installers”.
Government has also committed to fund 100 green apprenticeships, primarily for young people in small scale renewable technologies.
Ian Stares, PTS product director for renewable energy products, said: “While it’s been confirmed that RHI tariff rates for householders will be unveiled in summer 2013, the announcement that the RHI is being delayed until spring 2014 is arguably a blow. Not just to the heating industry and all of those who have planned for its arrival 2013, but to the UK’s carbon reduction ambitions as well.
“That said, it’s encouraging that the government has committed to spring 2014 for the introduction of RHI. A summer announcement regarding tariffs could lead to a growth in demand, however, purchasers will need to know they can claim the tariff on measures installed between summer 2013 and spring 2014.”
Stares added that the renewable heating market stands to grow exponentially once the RHI tariff kicks in, buoyed by an expected rise in the uptake of renewable energy products, and hopes that a dent in confidence does not impact negatively on this in 2014.
Tim Pollard, head of sustainability at Wolseley UK, said: "It's hard not to be disappointed by the delay of the RHI until the spring of 2014, but there are crumbs of comfort for installers.
“I welcome the news that government has earmarked £250,000 for a first come, first served voucher scheme to boost renewable training. It also appears the scheme will focus on SMEs, which is great for our customers.
“The extension of the RHPP will boost the market in renewable technologies such as biomass, solar thermal and heat pumps, which will help our off-grid customers.
“In these tough economic times, the average household is looking for the reassurance of a regular income from their renewable heating system to give them the confidence to buy. The RHPP being extended is a token gesture, but is not a significantly large saving to make renewable technologies affordable for the majority of people.
“We are an industry which has invested heavily in training people over the past few years to become technically competent in heat pump installation. It would be a tragedy if these well qualified, hard-working people found their livelihoods adversely affected, which could ultimately lead to loss of employment and key skills within the industry.
“On a more positive note, at least the government has committed to a launch in 2014, but in an industry where delays have become a hallmark, this will bring little comfort."