The Heat Pump Association’s (HPA) latest report outlines the road ahead for heat pump deployment across the UK, citing opportunities, challenges, and the practicalities of switching to heat pump technology.  

2022 sales of UK heat pumps were less than 10 per cent of the UK government’s target to achieve 600,000 heat pump installations annually by 2038. Therefore, improving accessibility to heat pumps, investing in the technology itself, and upskilling a workforce of installers is essential to bring the UK up to this target. 
Here are some of the report’s key takeaways:  

Training and skills  

Training will be an integral part of the UK’s heat pump rollout, with the report forecasting a need for 33,700 trained installers to meet the UK government’s target. The HPA’s manufacturing members alone have capacity to train 40,000 installers per year, making this a realistic target.  
The Heat Training Grant, which was deployed earlier this year, will be a key support mechanism for those seeking formal training for heat pump installation. However, the HPA’s report stresses a need for a greater number of apprentices in the sector.  
Plumbing and heating apprenticeships stand to plug the skills gap which is widening across the heat pump sector due to an ageing installer base, low rates of new entrants, and a high number of sole traders (77 per cent of the total installer base) who don’t tend to take on apprentices. In total, a “78 per cent increase in the take-up of heating apprenticeships is required” in order to avoid a gap in the required number of heat pump installers.  
There is also a large gender disparity present, with just 0.5 per cent of heating engineers being female. Encouraging women to enter the sector and pursue low carbon heat training could fill the significant gap in apprentices.  
Two types of apprenticeships that provide training for heat pumps:  

Financing heat pump uptake  

The report outlines a series of suggestions to optimise the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme which currently offers households a grant of £7,500 to upgrade their boiler or invest in a heat pump. These suggestions include:  

  • Improve the promotion of this grant to consumers  
  • Commit to budgets for the scheme from 2025 – 2028  
  • Remove the 45kWth limit to for shared ground loop systems 
  • Determine grant levels for different owners and properties  

Furthermore, the report recommends that the government extend its zero-VAT treatment for heat pumps to include water source heat pumps, as well as full central heating systems including a heat pump, making them eligible for the zero rate. The zero rate should also be extended beyond 2027 to allow more time for heat pump rollout.  
The HPA also call for the government to rollout a heat pump financing package similar to the one Scotland offers consumers, whereby the £7,500 grant can be extended with an optional £7,500 zero interest loan to encourage uptake, with qualifying households receiving an additional £1,500 rural uplift on top of the £7,500 grant.  

Improving confidence in heat pump technologies  

A significant barrier to heat pump installation today is grid connection and distribution network operator (DNO) approval. The majority of heat pumps installed today must be connected under the “Connect and Notify” scheme, but it is sometimes necessary to seek permission from the DNO first under the “Apply to Connect” system.  
[Unsure what is meant by a DNO? Refer to our Net Zero Key Terms Glossary for a comprehensive list of definitions across climate, green technology, and net zero.] 
The report urges for the DNO application process to be streamlined, ensuring installations avoid unwanted delays, processes of connection are as simple as possible, and systems with lower Amps are able to connect without the application process.   
Conclusively, the existing skills gap remains one of the biggest barriers for heat pump installations today. While more could be done to improve the financing of heat pumps and instil greater confidence in consumers, if the number of qualified installers today is not sufficient to meet the government’s 2028 target, the sector will experience great difficulty in sticking to its current roadmap.

Green Economy supports organisations in the green technology sector. Find out more about the support we can offer you by following the links below...  

Ge Cta Banner G (1)


Explore our Marketplace to find your perfect, project partner.


Ge Cta Banner P (1)


Green Economy can help raise the profile of your business. 

Find out more

Share this story