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DECC Heat Pump Efficiency Data.

Whilst renewable electricity has grown rapidly to 25% of our power, renewable heat lags in the single figures and presents a much tougher challenge. Heat pumps play a key role in the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) strategy but questions on their effectiveness have slowed progress. Long awaited DECC data has now been published which reinforces the case for better interventions to drive good quality heat pump installations but also shows that financial and carbon savings can be made.
 
Seasonal Performance Factors
DECC’s analysis of heat pump installations under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) between 2011 – 2014 shows the Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) for air source heat pumps (ASHP) to be 2.30 and for ground source heat pumps (GSHP) to be 2.75.  This is largely consistent with the Energy Saving Trust Phase 2 field trial between 2008 – 2013 and DECC’s interim report on heat pumps under the non-domestic RHI based on data between 2014-15 and released last week.

This evidence base questions the ability for heat pumps to help the UK achieve its EU renewables targets.  Under EU rules, individual heat pumps need a SPF of 2.5 or above to qualify as a renewable installation.  In the RHPP report only 55% of ASHP and 79% of the GSHP achieve the 2.5 and only 57% of GSHP in the non-domestic RHI also achieve or exceed the target.

Policy measures to support heat pumps will need to include measures to ensure they achieve high SPFs.