The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) is calling on the government to reverse the decision to not rollover unspent Green Homes Grant funding into 2021/22.

The REA said that less than 5% of the original £2 billion budget has been spent so far, urging the government to “claw back £1 billion” from the fund. Not doing so would impact on businesses and consumers in the short term, the trade association said, as well as undermining confidence in future initiatives.

“Far from clawing this money back, the government should be looking to carry over this commitment into the next financial year, fix the issues around delivery and expand the scheme to include energy storage and a broader range of on-site renewables,” Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the REA, said.

The trade organisation pointed to COVID-19 and “poor administration” as being the culprits of a slow take up and not a lack of demand. Indeed, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned that at the current rate, it will take ten years to meet the government’s target, with only 20,000 vouchers issued out of a total of 600,000 on offer. This came after it was revealed that many installers are yet to be paid for their work and members of the public are waiting months to be issued vouchers.

The REA continued to emphasise how long term strategies around heat decarbonisation – the key focus of the scheme, which offers vouchers for a range of low carbon technologies including heat pumps, solar thermal and in some instances solar PV – are also imperative lest a policy gap emerge with the end of the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.

“A significant step change is needed by government if it is going to be able to get near the level of installations required to meet decarbonisation targets in line with their net zero ambitions,” Skorupska added.