Costs of a Biomass Boiler
Like a lot of renewable options, the cost of a biomass boiler can be difficult to pin down. We can look at the different heating systems and what we might be expected to pay for these boilers. Biomass can be used for domestic and commercial use. It can be used for both heating and hot water. The RHI scheme also applies to biomass boilers and should be considered when looking at prices. Biomass is considered a type of renewable energy source.
Cost of installing a biomass boiler
Overall, biomass boiler cost can be high. The average installation will cost you £12,000 to be installed, for an automatically fed boiler. A hand fed boiler will cost less and could save you around £5,000. Biomass boilers can cost anything from 14,000 to 19,000 for an automatically fed pellet boiler. This includes installation of a flue, fuel store and VAT. A log boiler is £11,000 to £23,000 and a pellet stove £400 to 4500. These boilers do cost more than your average boiler and most require a large space as well as fuel storage. These costs are for smaller to medium systems – anything bigger and the cost varies greatly depending on what you require it for. In the first year of having a domestic biomass boiler, it can cost around £15,000 to install and run an average size system.
Fuel for your boiler will need to be purchased. The more you can purchase the more cost effective it will be. There are 3 types of fuel: pellets, wood chips and logs. The estimated price for wood pellets per kilo is £245, logs £100 and wood chips £60. On average you can expect to use 11 tonnes of fuel per year. The amount you can buy will depend on your storage space but buying in bulk will save you cash. Wood chips are the cheapest fuel to use at 2.9p per kwh.
Biomass can drastically reduce your energy bills, reduce carbon dioxide and emissions and save you money, compared to other types of heating. They are extremely efficient at 90% which is significantly higher than your normal gas or oil boiler. The amount of electricity used within your home will also reduce as biomass boilers do not require much electricity. The saving you make may not be seen for up to six or seven years – biomass boilers are a longer-term investment and you won’t see a return straight away. The amount of saving you make will depend on what kind of heating system you are replacing. if you had electric heating your savings will be bigger at £990 a year compared to gas heating at £225 per year.
Your boiler will need regular maintenance. Once every 12 months is recommended for both efficiency and to prevent any major breakdowns later from ash build-up etc. All aspects will need to be inspected such as the flue, motor and thermostat. All components need to be kept clean to keep repair costs low. A basic service for small boilers is around £200 and anything up to £500 for larger boilers.
Most types of funding that were once available have now been stopped by the government. The current scheme still in place is the RHI. This scheme is for renewable heating options both domestic and business. Any heating system that complies with the scheme will receive payments for 7 years for heat that is produced. There are, as mentioned, joining requirements, but payments are currently at 6.54p p/kwh for biomass. You can keep up to date with these on the Ofgem website.
There are companies out there that will loan you the money for your biomass project, and this can help with the large upfront costs. Schemes such as the RHI and savings on bills can assist with repayments. It is best to seek information from a range of these companies before you agree to anything. Bear in mind the risks and benefits of using a loan to foot the bill.
There are a range of funding and subsidies available for rural areas and small businesses that offer various grants and funding options for those that are eligible. Schemes such as the rural development programme and the community sustainable energy programme.