Ground Source Heat Pump Prices

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What is the Ground Source Heat Pump Cost in the UK?

The ground source heat pump cost will differ from one project to another. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average ground source heat pump prices and installation costs are around £13,000 – £20,000.

Ground source heat pumps (GSHP), also known as geothermal pumps, are widely known as environmentally friendly investments that can help you save up £790 to £1425/year on your heating bill when replacing an old electric system.

Despite the high ground source heat pump cost compared to conventional heating systems, the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) payments in the UK will help downplay the impact of high initial ground source heat pump price. The RHI payments are earned over the first 20 years of installing ground source heat pumps for commercial use, and over the first 7 years in the case of domestic use. The tariff rates are set at 7.63 p/kWh for air to water heat pumps, and 19.64 p/kWh for GSHP (for applications submitted from 01/04/2017 to 30/06/2017) with payments made on a quarterly basis for 7 years.

If you want an estimation of the ground source heat pump prices for your future project, we invite you to fill out the form on the top of this page. We will provide you with up to four quotes from four different suppliers of heat pumps that fit your description. You are free to choose the offer that best suits your needs. This service is free, without obligation, and takes only a few minutes.

How Much Does Domestic Ground Source Heat Pump Cost?

The ground source heat pump prices vary depending on the size of the system and any additional work required.

In order to illustrate ground source heat pump cost and installation prices, we use the example of a 3 bedroom house with an annex. Let us assume that the house requires a heat load figure of 32,000 kWh per year for space and hot water heating. This house would need a GSHP with a capacity of 12kW and a mix of fan assisted radiators and underfloor heating. This system would cost around £33,000 - £37,500. 

However, the owner would earn 19.64 pounds for every renewable kWh (minus the initial electrical input) under OFGEM’s RHI scheme.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Payback on Ground Source Heat Pump Installations

Traditional Fuel Replaced Payback Period with RHI Payback Period without RHI Estimated Annual Payments 
Direct Electric Heating  6-8 years 12-18 years £2,610 to £3,940
New Oil Boilers 12 years 29 years £2,610 to £3,940
New Gas Boilers 14 years 47 years £2,610 to £3,940

Source; local.gov.uk (2016)

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How is the Total Ground Source Heat Pump Price Determined?

The total GSHP cost depends largely on the size of the dwelling and its insulation level. A well-insulated house will require smaller heat pump and smaller ground loop system, and therefore will be less pricy. Moreover, ground source heat pump installations fit ideally when building a new house.

The ground source heat pump price depends on the heat pump system design. The heat pump installer will design a heat pump system based on the dwelling’s level of heat loss, the level of energy consumption, and the domestic hot water requirements. This will help in choosing the accurate size of the heat pump and piping system design.

During the ground source heat pump installation, the piping for the ground heat exchanger may be laid in horizontal trenches if space is available or in vertical boreholes if an increased heating output is required from a limited land area.

Ground source heat pump costs and installation prices are generally high compared to air source heat pump. For example, The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the price to install an air source heat pump ranges from £7,000 to £11,000. On the other hand, the total GSHP price including installation should range between £13,000 – £20,000.

Comparison Between Vertical and Horizontal Ground Source Heat Pump Price and Installation 

    House Size                    Capacity of  GSHP (kW) Price of heat pump and installation  Price of Horizontal Groundwork Price of Vertical Groundwork
 3 bedrooms

11 kW

£15,750 £3,750 £9,750

However, it is important to evaluate the long-term value of this investment. Ground source heat pump system has low running costs compared to other renewable heating systems. Once installed, ground source heat pump piping system has an estimated lifespan of 50-100 years while the heat pump itself can run for 20-25 years. Finally, ground source heat pumps require low maintenance after installation.

Even if the ground source heat pump cost might place a strain on your budget, you still may save a great deal of money by ensuring a proper house insulation. This will cut down the heating system operational costs as well as reduce the capital cost, given that the capacity of the ground source heat pump, or the size of the ground collectors, can be scaled down in line with the reduced heating load.

Ground Source Borehole Drilling

Ground Source Heat Pump Cost of Installation and Excavation

The ground source heat pump cost of installation is high due to the expensive excavation work required. To install the heat pump loops, deep trenches or boreholes need to be dug. The heat pump loops are buried either horizontally in a shallow trench (at a depth of 1.0m – 2.0m) or vertically in a borehole that can be between 15m and 120m deep.

The ground source heat pump cost for drilling and lining a borehole might range from £60 to £100 per metre depending on the local geology. 

What are the Factors that Can Affect the Ground Source Heat Pump Price of Borehole?

If the ground source heat pump system design requires the installment of vertical loop system, a borehole or several boreholes need to be installed. The total costs of the ground work and borehole installation depend on the following factors:

  1. The borehole depth.
  2. The underlying geology and hydrogeology of the site.
  3. The design and construction method of the borehole.
  4. The proposed location of the borehole on the site.
  5. The borehole pipes diameter.
  6. The borehole fitting materials.
  7. The type, make and model of the heat pump selected.

Saving on Heating Bills with a Ground Source Heat Pump in the UK

 

According to the UK’s Energy Saving Trust, the extent of savings on your heating bills will depend on what heating system you use now, as well as which eating system you are replacing. Hence, your savings will be affected by:

  • The heat distribution system you will be using. 
  • The costs of fuels you are replacing. 
  • Replacing an outdated heating system with a new and more efficient one. 
  • The way you operate the heat pump. 

Annual Heating Cost Saving by Replacing  conventional heating sources:

Below we present the savings you can expect to get by replacing an old heating system with a new ground source heat pump system in an average four-bedroom detached house.

England, Scotland and Wales

Existing system Fuel bill savings (£/year) Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)
Gas older (non-condensing) £440 to £660 2,100 to 3,300 kg
Electric (old storage heaters) £790 to £1,425 6,700 to 11,700 kg
Oil older (non-condensing) £130 to £220 3,000 to 4,700 kg
LPG older (non-condensing) £960 to £1,500 2,800 to 4,500 kg
Coal £590 to £990 7,600 to 12,100 kg

*Source: UK Energy Saving Trust

Northern Ireland

Existing system Fuel bill savings (£/year) Carbon dioxide savings (kgCO2/year)
Gas older (non-condensing) £210 to £355 2,100 to 3,300 kg
Electric (old storage heaters) £765 to £1,440 6,700 to 11,700 kg
Oil older (non-condensing) £-35 to £-25 (loss) 3,000 to 4,700 kg
LPG older (non-condensing) £1,115 to £1,735 2,800 to 4,500 kg
Coal £500 to £860 7,600 to 12,100 kg

*Source: UK Energy Saving Trust

Ground Source Heat Pump Price Breakdown

In a recent report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, an illustration of the ground source heat pump price structure was developed. The illustration considers a 90 kW ground source heat pump as a base case for scoping the equipment and non-equipment price breakdown. This example is used to also compare smaller projects and larger scale project costs.

The non-equipment prices for a 90 kW retrofit ground source heat pump are slightly higher than the equipment price, mainly due to the drilling, boreholes, and ground work (~60% of this cost) as well as the added complexity in the design and specification process.

As you can see in the figure above, 51% of the total price of ground source heat pump installation is non-equipment costs, of which 60% is the price of drilling and ground work. The price of the heat pump itself and complementary equipment accounts for 49% of the total ground source heat pump price.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the ground source heat pump installation cost in the UK.

Source of cost breakdown: Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2016 

Considering smaller ground source heat pump installations, let's say 12 kW system, the overall price will be approximately 10-20% per kW higher than the 90 kW system. The ground source heat pump price per kW will be higher than for 90 kW in this case because many of the same parts, such as sensors & transducers, are used in a smaller system as in a large one – but are then proportionally a larger part of the total price.

Additionally, in the case of ground source heat pump borehole cost for installation, the price per metre of ground work for the 12 KW system will also be higher than for a 90 kW system. This is because the costs to start up the drilling are the same whether for a small or large ground source heat pump installations. However, the costs of the ground work needed for installing horizontal trenches is lower than for boreholes.

In the case of larger ground source heat pump installations, let's say 600 kW system, the overall price will be approximately ~15% per kW higher than the 90 kW system. The split between equipment / non – equipment cost is 45:55 in this case.

In larger ground source heat pump installations (i.e. above ~250 kW), the non-equipment price will include ground works (including drilling), design, project management, commissioning, and labour.

What You Need to Know About the Coefficient of Performance (COP)

Your heating bill savings will be determined with what is called the ‘Coefficient of Performance’ (COP) of the ground source heat pump. The COP is a measure of the efficiency of a heat pump. If the heat pump has a COP of 4,  this means that for every 1kW of electricity consumed by the heat pump it outputs 4kW of heat. 

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