Latest Green Deal stats are ‘encouraging’ – says Barker

Although nearly 40,000 assessments have been carried out and over £250,000 paid out under the cashback offer for customers, disappointingly only four Green Deal plans have been signed with 241 pending. Over 90 per cent of the cash paid out was for the installation of boilers.

Figures also showed that there are now 63 Green Deal providers and 1,254 installer organisations accredited as the scheme continues to gain traction and make ground with the public.

In addition, £131m of Energy Company Obligation (ECO) finance has so far been spent on 72,525 properties.

Despite concern about the take up of Green Deal, government research published only recently confirmed that 78 per cent of those with completed Green Deal assessments either had, or would, be installing energy efficiency measures proving that the scheme was increasing awareness.  

Climate change minister, Greg Barker, said that the scheme needed more time to ‘find its legs’ and that software glitches had affected the number of Green Deal plans which had been signed. 

“The Green Deal is an ambitious and uniquely long-term programme designed to upgrade the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes. It’s only just getting started, but the early signs are encouraging,” he said.

“Today we’ve seen that 81,798 installations have taken place with the support of the new Energy Company Obligation, helping those most in need or with particularly hard to treat properties.  But this is just the start. 38,259 Green Deal assessments is also a clear sign that many consumers genuinely want to make their homes more efficient; but we are keen to do more.

“78 per cent of people who have received a Green Deal Advice Report, following a Green Deal assessment, said they had, were getting or would get energy saving measures installed. This too is a great sign – many people are increasingly looking to make their homes more energy efficient and keep bills down.

“Getting software systems running and finance into place for Green Deal Plans to be signed has taken time, so the numbers here are lower. The very first wave of Green Deal Finance Providers have only just got their individual finance terms and conditions in place and gone live with their software systems that operate this whole new product. However, now the first five are up and running, the good news is that we expect up to 50 authorised finance providers to be active by the end of the year, massively increasing the access to finance in the market.

“It will take time as this brand new market finds its legs, but I now expect the number of plans signed to start steadily rising.”

He added: “The official figures tell a sorry tale, but we still believe the scheme can work if it is reformed and installers are made a central part of the sales process.

“As it currently stands, the Green Deal is a great idea but tragically flawed, because it cuts straight across the heating industry supply chain, rather than working with it.

“The boiler is a key element because if it is financed under the Green Deal it can be used to encourage the homeowner to sign-up for other energy saving measures, such as insulation.

“Secondly, the government needs to reform the cash-back element of the scheme which is limited to Green Deal providers only. Installers won’t pass on boiler leads to providers because of the fear they will lose the job. We need to go back to the boiler scrappage model which offered an easily reclaimable voucher.”

Plumb Center’s head of sustainability, Tim Pollard, said the number of assessments alone indicated that a large marketplace was growing for energy efficiency measures with associated opportunities for installers.

“The latest figures are very promising. 40,000 assessments is a significant marketplace and installers will know that represents more than a fad – I can’t imagine any installer not thinking it’s a good thing.

“Having an assessment is good value. The fact householders get a professional report which lists the measures their property can benefit from, and quantifies the savings, is a massive step forward.

“The early adopters are the people who are passionate about the scheme. We’ve had those now and I might be an eternal optimist, but I think more people will start to get on board.

“It’s also very interesting to see almost 1,000 people have replaced their old boiler with a high-efficiency one, and claimed Green Deal cashback. If the UK is going to hit its carbon targets, we need homes to use high-efficiency heating systems, so it’s great to see leaky boilers are on the way out.

“Inevitably there’s been a lot of ill-founded criticism about Green Deal because it took longer to start than some thought it would, and maybe uptake hasn’t been as quick as they thought. But the people at the heart of Green Deal knew it wasn’t going to produce a tsunami of demand at the start, it was going to be a scheme of longevity and the time to judge is at its end, not its beginning.”