Good times ahead

Phil Hurley
Phil Hurley, managing director, NIBE, is looking forward to the year ahead for the heat pump market

While 2012 proved to be a year of uncertainty for heat pumps, at NIBE we look forward to the coming months and a strong 2013. In the face of a somewhat unpredictable outlook for wider legislative support – such as the future framework of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – this technology continues to operate successfully in both domestic and commercial applications across the UK, and we are confident in its abilities going forward.

Consultations into positive proposals for the RHI have now taken place – including the possibility of subsidies for air to water and ground source heat pumps. However, whilst these proposals represent a welcome turn in fortunes for the technology, the outcome of the consultations ultimately remains unknown – and this support is vital if we’re to stimulate the necessary uptake of heat pumps this year. Not only would it help drive growth in the renewables market, it would mark long-overdue recognition of heat pumps and the significant role they are set to play in achieving strict carbon reduction targets.

Confirmation that heat pumps will be well represented in future RHI subsidies would also help drive a more consistent high skill level and standard of technology across the industry. Under the new proposals, to be eligible for payments, heat pumps and the installers who fit them must be officially accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

At NIBE, we believe cementing the importance of MCS is central to the success of heat pump installations in the year ahead and beyond. In fact, we are calling for accreditation to become a legal requirement for all installers working with the technology. This would help ensure the right standards of quality are being upheld across the industry, by manufacturers and installers alike. Introducing a mandatory quality assurance scheme is the way to promote the higher levels of expertise, reliability, performance and safety needed to build confidence in heat pumps and their capabilities in the years to come.