£10 million social housing scheme launched to provide low carbon heating

A £10 million scheme aimed at getting low carbon forms of heating such as biomass boilers, solar hot water panels and heat pumps into the homes of social housing tenants across Great Britain opens to applications today.

Following the success of the first social landlord competition under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme last year, DECC has launched a bigger second round. The amount of money available has increased from £3million to £10million, with more time for social landlords to apply.

Registered providers for social housing such as local authorities and social housing associations will be able to bid for up to around £175,000 each.

Launching the scheme, energy and climate change minister, Greg Barker, said: “Last year our low carbon heating scheme for social landlords helped nearly 1000 householders stay warm and reap the benefits of clean, green heat.

“This year we have increased the cash available, which will help even more people move away from expensive old heating systems to low carbon more sustainable alternatives.”

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “The opening of the second round of applications for the RHPP scheme for social landlords is great news for social housing tenants across Great Britain. The scheme offers real value to tenants as not only does it help them save money on their energy bills, but also helps them to reduce their energy usage.”

Vincent Wedlock-Ward MBE, project officer at Southern Housing Group (Isle of Wight Region), a previous social landlord competition winner, said: “We received £175,000 from DECC under last year’s RHPP scheme for social landlords which helped us replace old overnight storage heating systems with air source pumps for 40 householders living off the gas grid. Without this funding this would not have been possible.

“We are continuing to monitor how these heat pumps work in homes and have received positive feedback from residents who say their bills have been cut by half thanks to these heat pumps.”

George Lonie, chair of the Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP), a previous social landlord winner, said: “I am delighted that HHP have been recognised on the national stage for the work we are doing in trying to combat the significant challenge of fuel poverty in the Western Isles.

“The award of £175k from DECC enabled HHP to install 28 Air Source Heat Pumps which has made a considerable difference to people’s lives and has contributed to lifting some of our tenants out of fuel poverty. The funding has also enabled HHP to install energy display devices to enable both tenants and HHP to monitor household electricity costs.

“This information along with tenant feedback on the heating systems will provide invaluable advice to HHP as we install further renewable heating systems in our properties. We are also delighted to be able to assist DECC in the launch of the next round of funding for the RHPP social landlord competition.”

Bids will be evaluated by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) on criteria such as value for money, type of fuel being replaced, energy efficiency measures to be installed and track record on delivering similar projects. Final decisions on the number of projects funded under this competition will be made by a DECC panel of experts.

The scheme is being managed by EST and interested applicants can apply online. The closing date for applications is 4th July. DECC is hosting a number of seminars across the country to provide further information on the scheme and would encourage potential applicants to attend.

These are being held on:

28th May: London, England
30th May: Glasgow, Scotland
30th May: Durham, England
8th June: Manchester, England
12th June: Newtown (Powys), Wales
14th June : Exeter, England
19th June : Norwich, England

DECC hopes to support around 60 projects this year and will notify successful bidders in early August. The RHPP community scheme, as announced in March this year, will be launched later this summer.

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