Chancellor urged to rollover Green Homes Grants funds to underpin confidence in retrofit market

Unspent funds in £2 billion Green Homes Grant to be scrapped in ‘outrageous’ move

Solar PV is eligible for funding under the Local Authority section of the scheme. Image: Nottingham City Council.

The Chancellor has been sent another letter urging him to fully rollover unspent Green Homes Grant funding into 2021/22.

The letter comes from the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG), a coalition of industry groups, NGOs, charities and businesss, and follows on from a similar letter penned by 11 NGOs and thinktanks including Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth that called on the Chancellor and Prime Minister to improve the scheme over cutting the funding available for it.

It follows the announcement that the unspent funds will not be rolled over, with reports also coming out last week that the scheme may in fact be shuttered next month. The £2 billion Green Homes Grant was announced last summer and is designed to provide vouchers for green home technologies such as solar thermal, heat pumps and – in the Local Authority allocation – solar PV.

The letter from EEIG stated that rolling over the funds “will be essential to underpin the confidence of the retrofit industry which, despite widespread early setbacks with the administration of the scheme, is beginning to ramp up to deliver at scale”.

It added that long term certainty and sustained investment from the government are key to giving the industry confidence to invest in the skills and supply chain needed to deliver on a green recovery.

The EEIG said it doesn’t “recognise comments that the problem with the scheme was with takeup”, pointing to statistics that show high levels of demand compared with the numbers of vouchers actually issued. Indeed, figures released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show whilst there were 69,200 applications by the end of January 2021, only around 21,000 had a voucher issued, with 2,777 measures actually installed.

However, a spokesperson from BEIS told Solar Power Portal last week that “the prevalence of COVID-19 since the scheme’s launch in September last year has led to an understandable reluctance on the part of the public to welcome tradespeople into their homes”.

The letter – signed by organisations such as Energy UK, E.On and the Association for Decentralised Energy – continued to state that the problems with the scheme have arisen as a result of “its execution and delivery – including delays in processing vouchers, an overly complex customer journey and delayed payments to installers for works undertaken”. This echoes previous reports of delays in installer payments as well as diffculties for consumers.

“Only a long-term programme can provide the economic, social and environmental benefits associated with a focus on green homes, support the government’s important levelling up agenda and make real progress towards achieving the net zero target,” the letter finished.

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