Patrick Harvie has admitted “there is more work to do” to kickstart the green heat transition after new statistics revealed a 37% surge in heat pumps being installed in Scotland in the space of two years.

But the Scottish Government has been accused of “dismally” failing to meet its target of ramping up heat pump installations.

Last year, Mr Harvie told MSPs that at least 100,000 electric heat pumps would need to be installed in homes a year by the end of the decade.

Statistics from the MCS Foundation, which collates the data, said a record 6,338 heat pumps were installed in 2023 – 37% more than in 2021 and a 113% increase from 2020.

The research also found that 25,875 solar power systems were fitted to homes and businesses across the country in 2023 – 56% more than in 2021 and 174% up from the 2020 total.

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2023 saw more certified heat pumps and solar panels being installed in Scottish homes and businesses than ever before, with an 18% jump on the previous record set in 2022.

As of last year, there was a total of 203,347 MCS-certified renewable energy technologies installed across Scotland, including solar panels, heat pumps, and small-scale wind turbines.

There are now a total of 35,852 MCS-certified heat pumps registered across Scotland.

Mr Harvie, Green Zero Carbon Buildings Minister, said: “This is welcome news and clear evidence of the growing awareness and appetite for renewable energy and clean heat in Scotland’s homes and buildings.

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“20% of Scotland’s carbon emissions come from heating our homes and buildings so moving away from polluting heat is essential to achieve net zero by 2045. Scotland continues to offer the most generous package of grants and loans in the UK to support the move to clean heating.”

He added: “We know there is more work to do to reflect the surge in interest. That is why we’re currently seeking views on plans that represent an ambitious step change for greener and warmer buildings in Scotland and we are committed to bringing forward a Heat in Buildings Bill during the current Parliamentary session.”

But the Scottish Conservatives have issued a warning about the Scottish Government’s heat pumps strategy.

Conservative shadow secretary for net zero, energy and transport, Douglas Lumsden, said: “This desperate spin about record installations actually shows how dismally the SNP-Green Government are failing on their own targets.

“Patrick Harvie’s plans were for 140,000 new heat pumps a year until 2030. Current take-up, despite the bullying and grants, is less than 5% of that.

“Small wonder, since the SNP and Greens have no idea how to get round the technical difficulties for many homes, and seem to think imposing bills of thousands of pounds on Scottish households will magically cover up their own dismal failure to produce a realistic energy transition plan.”

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Almost one in ten Scottish households, 8.2%, now have MCS-certified renewable energy in their homes, with more than 200,000 installations in total.

David Cowdrey, director of external affairs at the MCS Foundation, said: “Scottish households are leading the UK in renewable energy installations, and the record figures from 2023 show a very positive trajectory for solar panels and heat pumps.

“Scottish Government grants of up to £9,000 have helped to boost installations and get more households off polluting fossil fuels and onto cheaper and more efficient renewables.

“To reduce energy bills and tackle the climate crisis the rate of installations must continue to increase. This will need action from Westminster as well, to reduce the costs of electricity so that even more households can make savings on their energy bill by replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump.

Fabrice Leveque, climate and energy policy manager at WWF Scotland, added: “More and more households are turning to heat pumps and solar energy to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions.

“As well as grant funding, the Scottish Government must put in place long-term policies to phase out the use of fossil boilers, which is why it’s essential that the Heat in Buildings Bill is introduced this year to Parliament.”