Green Deal assessments more than double in April
Green Deal assessments lodged by the end of April hit 18,816, up from 9,294 at the end of March, according to the latest Government figures.
The data showed that 9,522 assessments were lodged in April, compared to 7,491 in March and 1,729 in February.
It also showed that Green Deal Assessor Organisations had increased to 152, up from 108 from the end of March, while 1,274 Green Deal Advisors, employed by the organisations, had been accredited, up from 1,003.
In addition, £85.5m worth of contracts had been let through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) brokerage system, compared to £68.9m at the end of March.
Commenting on the figures, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "The Green Deal market is showing healthy signs of growth since its launch at the end of January with 18,816 Green Deal assessments carried out by the end of April. That's over double the amount of assessments undertaken by the end of March.
Barker said it is still early days of "this long term initiative", but that the figures showed a "clear sign" of growing interest from consumers.
"As the number of householders getting on board continues to rise, the number of businesses offering Green Deal services is also building momentum. At the end of April there were 55 authorised Green Deal providers, 1,274 individuals registered to carry out assessments and 942 organisations signed up to carry out installations. It's fantastic to see householders and businesses cottoning on to the benefits and rising to the challenge," he added.
Despite the increase in assessments, the Green Deal continues to draw concern from those in the construction industry who say that not enough assessments are turning into deals.
Policy and campaigns consultant at the UK Green Building Council, Richard Griffiths, said: "As we saw a month ago, the number of Green Deal assessments continues to grow and that is encouraging. But we are now reaching the point where we must surely start to see a significant number of these turn into Green Deal plans. Early reports suggest that this is starting to happen, but not yet at a rate commensurate with the challenge we face in retrofitting the UK's homes.
According to Griffiths, the real test will come in the next few months', when the Department Energy and Climate Change (DECC) funded assessments have worked through the system.
"Will the rate of assessments we have seen so far be maintained, and can we be hopeful that a reasonable proportion of those who received free assessments will turn out to be genuinely serious customers for the scheme?" said Griffiths.
"If the answer turns out to be 'no' to either of these questions, the Government should commit to acting on the lessons learned from the first six months and step in to introduce measures to drive demand for retrofit," he added.
The scheme has received a barrage of criticism before and after its launch, particularly for its high interest rates and lack of marketing. This has driven the Government to continuously call on industry to push the scheme.
In March, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said that Government and business would need to "stick together to build momentum" leveraging industry's expertise, contact with customers and, crucially, its advertising spend to ensure the success of the Green Deal scheme.
The Green Deal launched on January 28 2013 in England and Wales and on 25 February in Scotland. ECO started on January 1 2013 for Great Britain.