Domestic energy sector disruptor continues rapid growth with latest installer acquisition

In line with its aim to become first choice for homeowners looking to decarbonise, Hometree continues its growth strategy with the acquisition of IMS Heat Pumps.

Emma Bohan, Managing director of IMS heat pumps

The fast growing residential energy services provider Hometree has acquired Sheffield-based installer IMS Heat Pumps, which has pioneered heat pump installations across England and Scotland since 1997.

Hometree Founder & CEO Simon Phelan said:“I’m incredibly excited to be partnering with Emma Bohan and the IMS team and look forward to helping them scale the company significantly.”

Emma Bohan, Managing Director of IMS Heat Pumps said: “We’ve been installing heat pumps for over 25 years, and we’ve watched the renewable home energy industry grow and grow in that time. By partnering with Hometree, we can bring our specialist expertise to many more homeowners and look forward to working closely with the Hometree team to drive uptake of sustainable heating solutions across the country.” 

Margaret Major, Publishing Director for REI, spoke with Emma to understand more about the implications of the partnership.

Why is this partnership with Hometree the right way forward for IMS Heat Pumps?

Emma replied: “Hometree approached us with the acquisition offer and they came with a vision for the renewables industry that aligned with ours at IMS from the get-go. They want to accelerate the change from gas boilers to heat pumps and other renewable forms of technology across the UK and they understand that needs experienced, highly-skilled  and knowledgeable installers, which we have curated and championed at IMS.

“Hometree is a UK-wide business and that means it has an unparalleled reach in finding customers who want to install renewable energy systems in their homes. The addition of IMS to Hometree Group means we can provide high-quality installations, combined with green financing to make heat pump installation more affordable for our customers. It couldn’t be a better proposition for both parties.”

What specific advantages will the partnership bring to IMS?

“IMS will be able to continue growing in our target regions, including Derbyshire, the Midlands, Scotland and Yorkshire,” Emma shares. “Alongside heat pump  installations and leases, our customers will also benefit from better servicing and maintenance care.

“This will give our staff more opportunities to grow and progress in their careers.”

Does this change your own role within IMS?

“It doesn’t – day to day I will still manage IMS,” Emma replies. “However, the acquisition brings with it a wealth of new and exciting challenges to integrate the innovative products Hometree offers our clients.”

What else do you think needs to happen to overcome some of the barriers to transition?

Considering for a moment, Emma replies: “The Spark Gap – the difference in prices between gas and electricity – is an issue preventing more people from switching to renewable energy. Gas is still the cheapest heating per kWh and heat pumps can often cost more to run. But in the long term, heat pumps are better for your wallet and the planet. But this must change to encourage more people to switch.

“Despite our best efforts at IMS, there is a really big talent shortage for heat pumps and renewable energy technologies,” Emma adds. “Improved training and incentives will go some way to keep up with demand and ensure more people can transition.

“As well, public awareness and education about these types of technologies is still lacking. This must be addressed to overcome transition barriers.”

What are you hoping for from the new Government formed after July 4th (whoever that may be)?

“We have seen lots of change recently when it comes to funding and financing for renewables with the UK government introducing new policies and changing its mind. We need long-term thinking when it comes to renewable energy, and that requires decisions on funding and financing for renewables that have longevity so consumers can trust they can make the switch with confidence.

“We also need a clear roadmap for decarbonisation of homes, including legislation that removes fossil fuels from new homes and phases out fuels from existing ones if we are to reach net zero.

“But most of all, I hope to see a clear agenda to deliver change at scale and a green light for the industry to invest and grow,” Emma concludes.

Leading the domestic renewable energy charge

Founded in 2015, and having established a customer base in excess of 100,000, Hometree has pivoted from its initial focus on provision of home emergency breakdown and insurance to become a leading UK challenger in residential energy services.

In addition, through its Hometree Finance division, the company has the largest portfolio of residential heat, solar and battery leases in the UK. By financing and owning the assets on behalf of homeowners, it enables them to benefit from lower energy bills, without the upfront cost of installation.

Since it was founded, Hometree has raised >£85 million in funding and recently secured its first debt facility from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock to support its acquisition strategy. Hometree is also backed by one of Europe’s largest asset managers in Legal & General Capital, alongside a range of leading specialist energy investors including Energy Impact Partners, Inven Capital and 2150.

Image supplied by Emma Bohan