Green heat systems can cut costs for care providers

Investing in renewable heating systems could help care home operators cut back on escalating heating bills, with the sector eligible for Government cashback incentives.

With the care industry one of the sectors most affected by hikes in traditional fuel bills, installing green heat systems could see not only a lowering of costs but also a chance to generate cashback from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in-Tariff.

7 Energy, which specialises in wood pellet boiler and solar PV technology, says any facility which has to heat water for patient care needs is seeing fuel bills rise.

Managing director Martin Dowley said: “Like hospitals, care homes require a continual source of hot water and a wood pellet boiler installation can provide this whenever it is required. With care homes spending an average of 60 per cent of their costs on heating and lighting, wood pellet fuel can be a cost-effective option compared to oil and gas.

“Many care homes also have large roofs which could be the platform for them generating their own heat, and receiving cash back via the Feed-in-Tariff if they install solar PV.

Mr Dowley explained FiT tariff for eligible properties is guaranteed at the same rate for 20 years for electricity generated from solar panels. When a care home produces more electricity than it needs, the unused electricity is exported to the National Grid and paid back to the care home operator via its energy supplier.

He added: “Also many care homes are considering biomass heating systems, such as wood pellet boilers, which provide cost-effective heat on a large scale, with operators able to benefit from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

“The RHI is intended to provide long-term support for those who invest in renewable heating, again over a period of 20 years. In many cases, the RHI is paying out more a year than the cost of the fuel required, for example a 56kw ÖkoFEN automatic boiler can attract an incentive of nearly £6,500 compared to the cost of the fuel just over £5,000 ex VAT.”

A recent installation by 7 Energy saw a £1.2 million installation at two poultry farms in Ludlow and Powys. The farmer has seen his energy usage cut by 65 per cent by the system which generates enough power for between 90 to 144 homes.