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Network of heat pump installers expands due to demand


ScottishPower appoints second provider, Plug Me In, to install heat pumps as zero carbon alternative to gas boilers
Meeting a surge in demand poses a challenge for industry, as Government records an uptick of nearly two-fifths (39%) in grant applications at the start of 2024
The UK’s installers are rising to the challenge – with the total number of qualified heat pump installers tripling (166%) in 2023 compared with the year before

Leading renewable energy company ScottishPower has appointed its second heat pump installation provider, Plug Me In, as part of efforts to roll out zero carbon heat technologies across England, Scotland and Wales.

Engineers across the UK from partners, Plug Me In and Everwarm, will install heat pumps for customers on behalf of ScottishPower’s Smart Solutions division. This comes as industry works hard to keep up with rising demand for heat pumps, with Government recording an uptick of nearly two-fifths (39%) in grant applications at the start of 2024. 

Meanwhile, the number of individuals qualifying as heat pump installers has risen to an all-time high, as the Heat Pump Association finds that the total number of installers increased by 166% in 2023 compared with 2022 – from nearly 3,000 in 2022 to over 10,000 in 2023. [1]

Government figures suggest demand for heat pumps surged after the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero increased the heat pump grant available to households by 50%. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme saw over 2,000 applications for heat pump grants in January 2024, a year-on-year increase of almost two-fifths (39%). [2]

Responding to this demand, ScottishPower racked up over two thousand heat pump installations over the last 18 months. Many of these installations benefitted from government grants such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and Energy Companies Obligation 4 (ECO4), which reduce upfront costs for customers – particularly those from lower-income households.

Despite this, the UK still has some catching up to do. Around 1% of UK homes are fitted with heat pumps, compared with 60% in Norway and 43% in Sweden.

Robert McGaughey, Head of Smart Heat and Cities, ScottishPower, said: “We’re thrilled to see Plug Me In join our network of nationwide heat pump installers alongside Everwarm.

“With thousands installed by ScottishPower across England, Wales and Scotland, we know heat pumps are making a difference to customers across the nation, particularly those who rely on government support schemes to create warmer, healthier homes.

“As demand rises, driven by certainty for manufacturers and consumers alike, it is encouraging to see the transition to cleaner, electricity-powered technologies create new skilled green jobs at a time when many other sectors face significant challenges to their growth.”

Sam Peachman, Commercial Director, Plug Me In, Heat, said: "Here at Plug Me In, we understand the importance of training and upskilling the next generation of clean energy installers. This is why every technician goes through our in-house Academy, making sure they are equipped with in-depth clean energy technology expertise.

As our nation's homeowners join the movement to cleaner energy, we are delighted to partner with ScottishPower in our shared mission to drive to net zero, supporting homeowners with practical advice and reassurance, as they start their journey to a cleaner energy future."

Installing heat pumps is part of ScottishPower’s drive to decarbonise homes across the UK. Residential properties account for 16% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. 

Heat pumps are recognised as a crucial solution to support the country’s roadmap to Net Zero, reducing household emissions by moving away from fossil fuel heating technologies, by the Climate Change Committee. 

By expanding its network of qualified installers, ScottishPower hopes to drive the growth of the UK’s heat pump market as it meets growing demand from customers.

The Green Skills Outlook, earlier research from Economist Impact and ScottishPower parent company, Iberdrola, shows almost two-thirds of business leaders think the green transition will create more jobs than it eliminates, with three quarters (74%) saying that the jobs it creates will be higher quality for workers. [3]

To ensure a supply of green skills in the labour market, business leaders think lawmakers should prioritise three important policies. Almost half (48%) want to see green skills courses established at educational institutions, for example, through strategic funding. Over two in five (46%) say support to invest in upskilling or reskilling programmes would help, while a further 41% would prefer adapting existing work and training programmes for the unemployed, to increase the emphasis on and support for green skills.

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