Tony Bowen, president of the Heat Pump Association and chair of the MCS Heat Pump Technical Working Group, outlines five key reasons why now is the moment of opportunity for the heat pump installation sector
1) Heat pumps are now much better known and thousands have been successfully installed in homes. These are also widely used in commercial premises, so whatever is your speciality you will see a growing customer base.
2) The government is now totally committed to the domestic RHI. This scheme will be introduced in spring 2014 so ignore the naysayers and recognise that customers will soon be asking you what you know about heat pumps.
3) Heat pumps work! Get the sizing and installation right and heat pumps satisfy their owners and save them money (especially compared to oil, LPG and electricity).
4) The whole RHI scheme is built on a quality approach called MCS. MCS requires heat pump units to conform to performance standards and be third party tested before they can be registered on the MCS product database. Heat pumps qualifying for any government support must be installed by an MCS approved installer. How do you become approved? Have a look on the website (http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/installers-manufacturers/installers-certification). But if you want to see what procedures have to be followed, look at a document called MIS3005, the key to installation requirements for heat pumps.
MCS is the most comprehensive scheme of its type in Europe, has been put together by industry based on its own experience, and will be the key to a successful roll out of heat pumps (and other renewable technologies as well).
5) There is always a balance of opportunity and risk. Getting into something new can cause problems, but MCS is aimed at being a reducer of risk. If an installer can use approved quality heat pumps that is already a big comfort. If he can also see in some detail the procedure that he has to follow to size and install a unit that is a huge help during the initial learning curve. And at the same time the risk to the consumer is reduced.
So have a look at this opportunity – it’s better thought through than most!