Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Could Augmentation of GSHP be incentivised?

26 May : Feed in Tariffs apply, or will apply to Sustainable Energy Technologies, not only for microgeneration.  GSHPs are included in the tariff but it is not clear how payments are assessed - based on a notional assessment of the house size, insulation, heating load, heat source etc.  I presume that only accredited contractors can assess this. This may be one reason why I was told yesterday that the new Govt will tighten up the rules about who can be accredited, which will be bad news for small installers and startup companies. So much for the 'Small Business' sector!

With the feed in tariff applying to so many categories, there is now the question of the best value for money of public funds - GSHPs are all very well, but they should they also be eligible for an augmented tariff if they are augmented in their performance - in the way that the congestion charge in London does not apply to electric, hybrid or LPG cars, it is a way of using tax rules to become an incentive. Perhaps the tariff should not available to GSHPs unless they are augmented! 
     There are similar rules that used to apply to the Low Carbon Grants, the house had to be already insulated etc. Although this was based on self certification, and nobody checked.
     Of course, someone might just take the augmentation subsidy and leave the panels turned off (although why turn off something that saves you money?) They could do the same, by having a heatpump in the house, turned off, and heat the house with patio heaters... are there such people? I guess not. If you have spent what a heatpump costs, you do not want to leave it idle.

For Sunboxes to be accredited for F.i.T. they would have to be made by a sizeable company, and sold through the accredited network, eg by outfits like EvoEnergy and Ice Energy. Their standard of performance would have to be proven, and it is a pity that it takes a winter or two winters to fully prove them. I want to get these onto buildings by 2016!

The only way to calculated the F.i.T. seems to be some sort of algorithm based on the theoretical capacity of the ground, the operating specification of the pump, the heating load of the house, based on size, age, occupancy, etc. (This is how the GSHP F.I.T will be calculated anyway.) The smaller the consumption in meter readings, the more the reward! perhaps .... someone could work that out. For me, and for many others who like to see mechanisms finely tuned, I would not need the incentive of an F.i.T. on the GSHP, and not on the Sunboxes. Although I would be happy to see reduced bills, I am not doing it just to scrape a few pence off (the payback is too long for that), but to see the system operating efficiently, with less energy consumption.

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