If you’ve been watching your energy bills go up and up and would dearly love to do something about it, like getting solar panels installed on your roof, or by making large energy saving improvements to your home such as double glazing, a new boiler, or external wall insulation, but are wondering how you could pay for it, there are several ways to finance the work needed.
These range from grants and loans that help with upfront refurbishment and building costs, to incentives that are paid on the energy produced from solar pv panels or wind turbines.
Have a look at the eight options below.
1. Green Deal
The Green Deal is a government initiative designed to help you make energy-saving improvements to your home without you having to pay all the costs upfront.
It is basically an unsecured, low interest loan that you pay back through your electricity bill. The loan is tied to the house, so you won’t be stuck with it if you move, and the repayments cannot exceed the savings you make. The big idea is that you get a range of energy efficiency measures installed in your home for no upfront or real extra cost.
To get on to the scheme, you first need to get an assessment to see what improvements you can make and how much you could save. Then you select a Green Deal provider to do the work. If you go ahead, once the work is done you pay off the cost in instalments through your electricity bill.
The type of projects that can be put through the Green Deal include:
- Double Glazing
- Loft insulation
- Solid wall insulation
- New energy efficient boiler with gas heat recovery
- Upgrading heating controls such as thermostatic radiator valves
2. Energy Company Obligation
The Energy Company Obligation or ECO is a pure grant aimed at low income households, or for houses that are harder to make energy efficient under the Green Deal alone. It’s different from the Green Deal as it doesn’t need to be repaid.
There are three ECO categories which the six big energy companies (Southern Electric, British Gas, EDF, Scottish Power, nPower and E.ON) are required to contribute to:
- Affordable warmth – new heating systems and insulation for low income and vulnerable households.
- Carbon reduction – support for harder to fix houses where it may not be possible to fund everything under the Green Deal alone.
- Carbon saving communities – energy efficiency measures for certain regions of the UK where support for low income households is a priority.
If you think you could qualify under one of these areas, there’s more information here.
3. Green Deal Cashback
The Green Deal cashback is a first-come, first-served offer to any householder in England and Wales making energy saving improvements under the Green Deal. This includes owner-occupiers and private renters. The idea is that you can claim money back from the Government on energy saving improvements like insulation, front doors, windows and boilers. Packages could be worth over £1,000, though the cashback is capped at 50% of your own contribution. The more improvements you make, the bigger the cashback.
Qualifying measures include:
- Double Glazing – up to £320
- Loft insulation – £100
- Solid wall insulation -£650
- New energy efficient boiler – £310
- Upgrading heating controls such as thermostatic radiator valves – £70
- Draught proofing – £50
- For more information See here.
4. Low interest mortgages
Some mortgage providers, such as the Ecology Building Society, offer low interest mortgages for energy efficient work in homes. It may be worth getting in touch with them and also searching for similar offers in the market.
5. Feed In Tariff
If you install renewable electricity generating technology on yoru home – such as solar PV or a wind turbine – the UK Government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) pays you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it yourself, and for any surplus electricity you export to the grid. And of course you’ll also save money on your electricity bill, because you’ll be using your own electricity.
The Feed in Tariff (FIT) is a fixed sum that you can earn from each unit of electricity you generate. At the moment this payment is guaranteed for 20 years.
A lower payment is also made for any electricity exported to the grid, in addition to the generation payment. More information on current rates here.
6. Renewable Heat Incentive
Like the Feed in Tariff, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heating technology such as solar thermal, solid biomass boilers, geothermal and ground/water source heat pumps.
At the moment, the Renewable Heat Incentive is only available to businesses, but there are plans to extend it to households from 2014.
More information here.
7. Council Grants
There may be local grants available to you from your local authority, try searching your council’s website for ‘energy grants’.
8. Self Finance
Small measures can make a surprisingly big difference to your bills, and your comfort. For low-cost energy-saving and energy-efficiency products and gadgets that don’t usually need a grant or big outlay, which you can often install yourself, have a look here.
If I’ve missed anything, please let me know!