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15.1.15

Renewable energy – what financial help is available to you? | Guest Post

With leading organisations such as the Energy Saving Trust encouraging households to become more eco-friendly, it’s no wonder that renewable energy has become a topic of importance recently. As domestic bills skyrocket and families struggle to make ends meet, more and more people are looking to make home improvements that’ll lower their outgoings. But if you decide to ‘go green’ what financial help is available to you?
Green Deal Home Improvement Scheme
In recent years, the government has taken many steps to improve the cold and draughty houses dotted around the UK. At the beginning of 2013, for instance, they introduced the Green Deal which encouraged millions of households to take out loans to cover the cost of work such as installing wall insulation or fitting energy-efficient boilers. The loans would then be paid back in instalments making it easier for home-owners to afford such home improvements.
While this scheme had limited success due to high interest rates on loans, it was a new addition to the scheme which made it more popular – the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. This gave households the option of claiming up to £1,000 for two energy-saving improvements and proved so popular that the scheme abruptly shut a few months later.
Now, there’s a new Green Deal available that’ll help you make energy-saving improvements to your home and find the best ways to pay for them. The type of work carried out will depend on the property in question but examples include insulation (for example cavity wall, solid wall or loft insulation), heating, draught proofing, double glazing or fitting renewable energy sources such as solar panels and heat pumps.
The great thing about this scheme is that you don’t have to be on a low income to qualify (although more help is usually available if you are). Anyone’s entitled to an assessment and while you take out a loan to cover costs, you only pay back what you’re predicted to save on bills each month, so there’s no NET cost. Money can be paid back over 10-25 years and you don’t even pay the loan directly – your firm will do it for you out of your energy bills.
Okay, so with the loan to pay off you might not make big savings initially but you should see improvements down the line as you reduce your carbon footprint and your bills drop. There’s plenty of information online about this government policy, so it’s worth checking it out to see if it’s the right option for you.
ECO (Energy Company Obligation)
As well as the Green Deal, ECO also provides funding from the big six energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF Energy, E. ON UK, npower, Scottish Power, SSE) to support energy improvements for people on certain benefits, for those in solid wall properties and for households in the most deprived parts of the country. This means that being energy-efficient is not just a rich man’s game and gives everyone a chance of protecting the environment and reducing their bills.
Feed-in Tariffs (FITs)
Feed-in Tariffs are payments made to households or businesses generating their own electricity via renewable sources such as solar panels or wind turbines. Essentially, people are given ongoing financial support for using methods of power that do not contribute to the depletion of natural resources.
Renewable Heat Incentive
If you install an eligible renewable heating system, such as a biomass boiler or heat pump, you could be given regular payments over seven years by the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.
Finding ways to reduce your outgoings and look after the planet is of paramount importance and with financial help available it’s easier to make energy-efficient changes than you might think.