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Green Deal finance will cover microgeneration
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Solar panels and other forms of microgeneration have been included in the Government's Green Deal programme - which the coalition hope will encourage homeowners and landlords make UK homes more energy efficient. Previously, the green building industry had believed that the programme - which will allow households to borrow cash (up to £10,000), paid back through their energy savings - would only stretch to insulation and draught-proofing measures.
Green Deal finance will cover microgeneration

However, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced yesterday that the finance will also cover solar PV and thermal, ground and air source heat pumps, biomass boilers and Micro-CHP. The key to their use, said DECC, will be whether they meet the 'golden rule', i.e. where savings are equal to or greater than installation costs.

The news is a welcome boost for housing associations who have already formed key supply chain partnerships with solar providers through the Government's Feed-in Tariff. The Government has said councils and housing associations will be encouraged to become accredited Green Deal providers, possibly working alongside energy companies to retrofit their stock and provide the service to the wider private sector.

Also announced yesterday was a Green Deal 'Code' to protect consumers, and information on how vulnerable customers and "hard to treat" homes will be helped via the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). Last month, the Government announced that the Green Investment Bank could be used to fund the early stages of the Green Deal, which will be rolled out from next year.

DECC's document includes:
• Plans to set up the new Green Deal Code – to protect customers at every stage of the Green Deal from initial assessment to installation.
• Plans to set up a new Green Deal advice line – this will provide impartial advice and referral to accredited Green Deal assessors, installers and providers as well as a route for any complaints.
• The formal appointment of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) – which will ensure assessors and installers adhere to robust standards in order to participate in the Green Deal.

A further two documents have also been published - Helping vulnerable people and hard to treat homes under the Green Deal, plus ‘Extra help where it is needed: a new Energy Company Obligation’ gives further information on the scheme’s twin objectives - how it will help the most vulnerable and how it will help deliver major measures, such as solid wall insulation, in homes which need more work than Green Deal finance alone can stretch to.

Additionally 'Eligible measures under the Green Deal' outlines the framework for determining whether a measure or package of measures are likely to be financed under the Green Deal. This sets out the process for determining which measures are suitable and eligible for a particular property under the Green Deal.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “Last week Government recognised it needed to address the cost of Green Deal finance, by using the Green Investment Bank as a vehicle to attract private investment. This week Government has taken important actions to safeguard the consumer. These are encouraging steps towards ensuring the Green Deal is a success and are to be welcomed. The next big challenge is how to incentivise take-up on a mass scale.”

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