Transforming the market by putting installers first

The Heat Pump Association (HPA) has announced the launch of a new membership category for installers that will be offered at an affordable rate and help to ensure that the installer’s voice is represented in any future decision making. Phil Hurley, Chair of the HPA, explains why skilled installers have a crucial part to play in helping to transform the UK heating market.

The Government’s autumn 2021 Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out how the UK will decarbonise its homes, and its commercial, industrial and public sector buildings, as part of setting a path to net zero by 2050. Within a decade, heat pumps will become the norm, rather than the alternative to the fossil fuel boilers so many consumers have come to rely upon for decades. The phasing out of new fossil fuel boiler sales by the mid 2030s, and the interim target of 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 are ambitious but achievable goals. Achieving them will need manufacturers, installers, consumers and Government all to play a part in the biggest shake-up of home heating in living memory.

On 14 June 2022 the HPA published ‘Transforming Britain’s Heating – A Pathway to Heat Pumps‘ to set out its vision of how this transformation can take place.

The installer – front and centre

The HPA estimates 26,000 fully-trained heat pump installers will be needed to hit the Government’s 2028 target, and all major manufacturers are in a state of readiness, already able to accommodate up to 40,000 places on Ofqual-approved Level 3 heat pump installation courses.

The HPA’s pathway singles out the importance of installers in ensuring these goals are met. Its key recommendation is the creation of a highly-skilled heat pump installer workforce – to ensure that today’s 130,000 fossil fuel boiler installers are supported and encouraged, and that apprenticeship programmes are established to create a younger generation of highly-skilled careers. The heating sector could readily provide over a quarter of the 480,000 green jobs the Government wishes to establish by 2030.

The HPA has also announced a special membership category for heating installers. It has created a dedicated Installer Group within the association, to ensure installers’ views are heard and they have input into shaping the Association’s advocacy efforts with Government and others on behalf of the heat pump industry. They will also receive regular newsletters, briefings on the heat pump market, Government consultations, and regular networking opportunities.

A Long-Term, predictable policy framework

A long-term, predictable policy framework for domestic heat decarbonisation is essential for the investment needed in heat pump manufacturing, installer training and throughout the supply chain. 3 major manufacturers have already responded to existing policy signals by committing capital to UK manufacturing of heat pumps and all major manufacturers have invested significantly in training capacity for installers. Stability of policy will ensure long-term, high-skilled British jobs are created.

Market reform

Today’s levies on consumer bills distort the home heating market by making electricity artificially more expensive than fossil fuels used for heating. The HPA sets out some pragmatic ideas to address this, as well as exploring how the Government’s new Market-Based Mechanism for heat pump sales could drive volume of good quality heat pump installations.

Financing the transition

The HPA recognises the need for closing the cost gap between heat pumps and their fossil fuel counterparts during the transition. This will be addressed partly by heat pumps reducing in cost as volume increases, but applies the reality dose that subsidy schemes, such as the recently released Boiler Upgrade Scheme and VAT exemption, will continue to be needed and expanded until the transition is largely complete.

Industry drives change, whilst government enables it

Finally, it’s worth saying the Industry accepts it will be the prime mover behind change. The HPA’s members recognise it will largely be they that deliver the change – by scaling up production, reducing costs, and particularly training and supporting installers. But this needs to be in partnership with Government providing the enabling policy change – certainty in the regulatory framework to inspire investor confidence, changes to standards and policing of them where necessary, market reform, and help with subsidy to help consumers (particularly vulnerable ones) during the transition period.

With that strong partnership between industry and Government, those ambitious heat pump goals are entirely realistic and will enable the transformation of Britain’s Heating – with the installer front and centre of that change. We’d urge anyone interested in shaping the future of the heating sector to come and join the Heat Pump Association, get involved and have their say.

For more details about installer HPA membership, please visit:

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