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Having the right approach to installation and maintenance capability will be critical to ensuring new energy success

Everyone knows that the future of energy will be much more distributed. Technologies such as EV chargers, heat pumps, batteries, solar panels, and smart controls will be installed in greater and greater numbers.

More and more customers will buy services built around these products. Building such services or subscription business, or offering bundles of products, is where many companies are rightly heading.

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What do installers think of digital sales platforms for heating systems and home services?

That’s the question Delta-ee’s upcoming installer research is aiming to answer. The heating system installation market in the UK is currently dominated by small independent local tradespeople. These businesses do both technical work and sales. However, a growing number of digital platforms are emerging where sales are facilitated by a third party. These digital platforms certainly have the potential to significantly disrupt existing sales channels, but getting installers on board will be crucial to their success.

We’ve seen lots of activity in the market for booking home services online since British Gas launched its Local Heroes platform in mid-2017. Heatable came on the scene shortly thereafter, marketing itself to installers as “your digital salesman”. Smart thermostat manufacturer Tado has since begun offering boiler repair services through its partnership with HomeServe, and both John Lewis Home Solutions and Amazon Home Services have now launched in the UK. Hoppy, born out of EDF Energy’s innovation accelerator, recently unveiled its complete home management site with a number of services to help users simplify running their homes – including a tradesperson booking portal.

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Incentivising growth in the heat pump market – what role can installers play?

For many European countries, heat pumps are seen as an important enabler in the decarbonisation of the domestic heating stock. New build regulations are increasingly supportive, helping heat pumps gain a foothold in new build markets.

Why are we not seeing more growth in heat pump sales in the retrofit market?

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Installers say that financial deals and more support from manufacturers will make the RHI a success in 2015

Our latest research* with installers highlights that, apart from biomass boilers, the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is having minimal impact to their businesses  – a worrying fact for DECC and industry as a whole. Despite this, we are optimistic that the RHI can be more successful in 2015 if installers are supported more by industry. Interviews with members of our Installer Panel found three key messages for higher uptake of microgeneration systems in the future:

Installers are not pushing microgen – manufacturers need to provide more support to sell

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