United Kingdom heat pump market situation
In 2014, 18,710 heat pumps were sold in the United Kingdom versus 17,632 units in 2013, resulting in a rise of 6.1%.
Heat pumps have been mostly sold in areas with no piped gas-network, where they compete against oil and electric boilers and increasingly against biomass boilers, which have proliferated.
Government has reduced spending, especially for social housing. As planning and project times can be significant, social housing providers have been unwilling to commit to an up-front capital investment before the forthcoming elections.
A major factor is the price of heating oil, which has decreased quite significantly in the second half of 2014. Building regulations do not sufficiently favour heat pumps; it has been proven possible to comply with regulations by fitting thicker insulation and a high efficiency gas boiler. Carbon reduction targets have been pushed back. The incentive scheme for renewable heating RHI has not supported the sales of heat pumps as expected; it has proved difficult to understand and does not offer the same advantages as the RHPP it replaced. Consumer awareness of heat pump technology is still at a low level; confidence in the product is low at both installers and end user side.