Boost for homeowners as France pours €300m extra into eco grant scheme

MaPrimeRénov provides financial aid for those planning environmentally friendly home improvements

The changes will see financial aid increase to €2,000 for most renovations
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France’s eco-friendly home renovation scheme MaPrimeRénov’ has been granted an extra €300 million, in a bid to see 200,000 homes renovated by 2024.

The money will go towards raising the current level of aid offered for most renovations from €1,200 to €2,000.

It is hoped the changes will see more households switch from fossil fuel boilers – oil and gas – to alternative methods.

The scheme has come under fire several times in recent weeks, with some applicants even taking the scheme to court over unpaid grants.

More than double the number of renovations

As of June 2023, around 90,000 homes have been renovated using aid in part from the MaPrimeRénov’ scheme, with the government hoping to more than double this by next year.

In particular, the government wants to speed up the decarbonisation of the housing sector in France – 64% of all building emissions in France come from housing, and this represents around 11% of all emissions in the country.

Whilst the increase in aid offered applies to most renovations included in the scheme, the aim is for more gas and oil boilers to be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives.

Despite more than 11 million households in France having a gas boiler installed, there are efforts to see this number drastically reduced due to their environmental impact.

A consultation on gas boilers was launched earlier this month by the government, the main objective of which is to see a significant reduction in the number of households with one installed.

Whilst it is unlikely the government will go as far as banning them completely, a number of measures – including an end to the installation of all gas boilers using the MaPrimeRénov’ – have already been implemented.

Read more: Should France ban new gas boilers? The case for and against

What is MaPrimeRénov’?

The MaPrimeRénov’ scheme sees the government provide a grant to homeowners to cover wholly or in part eco-friendly changes to their property.

This can include changing windows, replacing boilers, installing heat pumps, or adding solar panels to your property.

It has however been marred by problems, with France’s Défenseur des droits Claire Hédon even appearing in front of the Senate in April to present complaints her office has received against it.

The scheme is aimed principally at those on modest incomes, however, it has received criticism that many are effectively locked out over the excessive cost of most renovations – something the new changes seek to fix.

A number of complaints over a lack of payout from the scheme – even when applications have been approved – has even seen a group of homeowners band together to sue the government agency behind the scheme.

The group covers both those who are late receiving their subsidies, alongside those who were offered payment but later had it revoked.

Another non-financial criticism is over the tradespeople eligible to work with the scheme.

Only a tradesperson with a Reconnu garant de l’environnement (RGE) certification can complete work as part of the scheme – but only around 5% of them have the certificate.

This shortage of available workers, combined with the time limits imposed on renovations by the scheme, leaves many households who could benefit from MaPrimeRénov’ ultimately missing out.

Finance Minister Bruno le Maire announced a plan to increase the number of RGE-certified tradespeople to 250,000 – but not until 2028.

How can I check if I am eligible?

To check if you are eligible to apply for the scheme, you can use the official online simulator here.

You will need to provide information such as household income and the nature of the project you want funding for.

After this, you can create an account on the official site to make your application.

Whilst there are no income thresholds for applicants, those with a higher household income will see a reduction in the amount of aid offered by the scheme.

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