The Low Carbon Building Prgram has now been replaced by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). You can read more about the RHI on our Renewable Heat Incentive page
The DTI's Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) took over from the older Clear Skies programme and is designed to encourage people to use renewable energies like pellet stoves and solar panels. But the scheme requires that the techology be installed by an 'approved' installer and that the technology be an 'approved' appliance, and is in my view a complete failure.
Registration as an approved installer costs around £2000 (£450 of that is an 'admin' charge) - so all the approved installers are charging a lot extra understandably as they have to make it back somehow. The result is that the customer ends up paying a lot more and in many cases might as well not have applied for the grant. There is already a Competant Persons Scheme in place for stove and solar installations so there is no need for an approved installers list. The same goes for appliances - there is already an EU CE test framework in place for testing stoves.
BRE manage the approval of installers and appliances (and have only just started processing the backlog of applications mid July!). When I asked them what exactly the admin charge was for they did not know.
When I spoke to Paul Rochester at the DTI - who is in charge of the LCBP and put these points to him he did not seem to understand my points or did not seem to listen. Which is the problem - this scheme has been rolled out without consultation with any of the industries involved.
The Solar Trade Association are against the LCBP and have urged their members not to take part in it. The Solid Fuel Association are also battling with the DTI to have the scheme changed and agree with our stance against it.
Update: the BRE has now lost its monopoly on the installer registration scheme for the LCBP and fees have now come right down which is good news. Many organisations now provide registration at a fraction of the original cost, for example NAPIT offer various MCS registration schemes.