GI Energy, supplier of air and ground source heat pumps, has welcomed the government’s proposal to raise the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariffs for non-domestic ground source heat pump installations.

Chris Davidson, GI Energy director of development, praised Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Barker for proposing changes that will boost uptake of renewable energy.

He said: “Greg Barker has shown that he is serious about wanting to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by proposing to increase the RHI payments for ground source heat pump systems.

“The minister and his team clearly understand the huge potential of ground source heat pump systems for heating and cooling buildings without running up massive bills or damaging our environment. This is a fantastic boost for the industry and I am sure that it will help to grow the market; in future many more people will work in buildings that are heated and cooled by ground source heat pumps.

”The RHI is a world-first and quite clearly Mr Barker wants to make sure it does what it says on the tin – provide an incentive to switch to renewable forms of heating.”

The Department of Energy & Climate Change is proposing to more than double the tariff for large-scale installations, to between 8.9 and 10.2 pence per kWh of renewable heat produced. Current tariffs for ground source heat pumps are 3.5 pence for large installations of 100kW or more, and 4.8 pence for smaller ones, and there was concern that those were not high enough to boost uptake of the technology.

Mr Davidson continued: “The beauty of ground source heat pumps is that they use the heat stored naturally underground, so are many times more efficient than conventional heating and cooling. And they can be used in reverse during hotter months to cool a building: the heat is simply returned underground to be stored for later use. The systems are at their most efficient when both heating and cooling are provided.”

GI Energy has to date completed more than 200MW of installations, from schools in Orkney to One New Change in London. The technology is tried and tested – at One New Change, the GI Energy system was monitored for a year and results showed that for every kWh of power required to run it, 4.1 kWh of heating and/or cooling was produced.