A green home improvement scheme that the government abruptly abandoned 18 months ago has been snapped up by City investors who hope to turn it into a one-stop spot for eco-friendly energy shopping. The investors have paid £40m for what is left of the Green Deal programme the former coalition government launched in 2013 to encourage homeowners to borrow money for new boilers, wall insulation and other energy-saving upgrades. “We want to become the trusted brand in the home energy andrenewable energy space,” said Kilian Pender, chief executive of the Greenstone Finance investment company, one of the groups behind the acquisition. He said that over time, the new owners hoped anyone wanting a new boiler, solar panels or a high-tech thermostat system would come to their website first to get help finding the most suitable product; a trustworthy installer and, if need be, financing. But their first task will be relaunching a loan scheme that struggled to meet its creators’ expectations. Ministers initially hailed the Green Deal as the biggest home improvement measure since the second world war and a revolutionary effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by fixing Britain’s notoriously draughty houses. It was designed to offer loans for insulation and other upgrades that could be repaid through homeowners’ energy bills. Those bills should have been lower because of the improvements. It had been hoped that 10,000 households would sign up to the Green Deal in its first year of operation but it had fewer than 11,000 after two years.
FT 16th Jan 2017 read more »