Heat pumps require electricity to drive them. However, as the energy that produces the heat is derived from the air or ground which are heated by the sun, they are classed as renewable.
Heat pumps absorb the warmth from the external air (air source heat pumps) or the ground (ground source heat pumps) and use a heat exchanger (similar to that used in a fridge but in reverse) to release this heat into air or water, which is distributed around the home. From a cost point of view they are best suited to houses which are off the gas grid and use more expensive fuels (oil or LPG) or electricity. The systems are more efficient in houses with underfloor heating and are ideally incorporated into other home renovations or a new build.
These systems qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive and installers should be registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Check also to ensure that your installer is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code scheme.
Planning permission should not be required for the installation of a heat pump.
The cost of installation of an air source heat pump ranges from £5,000 to £10,000 according to the size and type of house. Running costs are of the order of £750 to £1,000 and there will be some reimbursements under the Renewable Heat Incentive.
The cost of installation of a ground source heat pump is more because of the groundworks needed and ranges from £10,000 to £15,000. This varies considerably according to the size of the system and the extent of additional work required. Savings incurred can vary between £600 and £1,200 per year dependent on the fuel that is being replaced and there are additional reimbursements under the Renewable Heat Incentive.