Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Key Points

Today sees the eventual launch of the domestic RHI. So here are a few pointers for you so that you don’t have to pour over the finer detail to see if it is right for you – although we do suggest that if you do decide that it is a good deal for your home that you do look at the Government website and associated docs

What is the RHI?

This is a financial support scheme for renewable heat, targeted at, but not limited to, off gas grid households.

Who is eligible?

The scheme will cover single domestic dwellings and will be open to owner-occupiers, private landlords, Registered Providers of Social Housing, third party owners of heating systems and self-builders.

What sorts of technology will it support?

The scheme will support air source heat pumps (ASHP), biomass systems, ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and solar thermal technologies.

If I have one of these technologies already can I claim the RHI?

The scheme will be open to anyone in these groups who installed an eligible technology since 15th July 2009, provided they meet the criteria. See Gov website for more info as this is a bit more involved.

How much will they pay?

The system pays you for each kWh of heat that you use. This varies between technologies:

ASHP – 7.3p per kWh

Biomass Boilers – 12.2p per kWh

GSHP – 18.8p per kWh

Solar Thermal – 19.2p per kWh

But, hang on ASHP and GSHP use non-renewable electricity to run, are the Gov going to subsidise this output?

No. There is a calculation for those technologies so that the non-renewable elements are removed before the RHI is calculated.

What about wood, should that come from sustainable sources as well?

The Government is developing an Approved Biomass Supplier list and all biomass will need to be sourced from this (and evidence is required to be held) in the near future.

Can I have two RHI’s given that solar thermal will only heat the water?

Yes, you can have one RHI for space heating and another for the solar thermal.

How long will it last?

Payments will be for 7 years and paid quarterly

Will the payments change?

Once you have your rate agreed it will be linked to the RPI, so might go up or down in line with that.

Will the RHI rates drop like the Feed In Tariff?

There are a number of Degression Triggers that the Government has set and this depends on uptake, so once a fixed amount has been reached then the support will drop by 10%. There is also a super trigger, so if the demand is so high that the Government is spending its allotted £ too quickly then a 20% decrease might occur.

There will also be an annual review and they may well change rates in line with projected uptake etc.

How do they measure usage?

The renewable heat generated will be estimated in most cases for payment purposes. For biomass and heat pumps, it will be based on an estimated figure of heat demand from an Energy Performance Certificate. For heat pumps, this will be combined with an estimate of the heat pump’s efficiency to determine the renewable proportion of the heat. For solar thermal systems, the payments will be based on the estimate of system performance completed as part of an MCS installation. Those applying for a space heating system who have a back up heating system, such as an oil boiler, or people applying for a second home, will need to install metering equipment on which the RHI payments can be based.

That doesn’t sound very accurate is there a better way of doing this?

There will be an extra incentive for applicants who install metering and monitoring service packages, of £230 per year for heat pumps and £200 per year for biomass boilers. However, it might be that the EPC over estimate usage and so you might be better off with taking those figures.

Do I need to have improved the energy efficiency of the house before applying?

Renewable heating systems work more efficiently in a well-insulated home. Therefore, it is a requirement that all applicants complete a Green Deal Assessment before applying and to ensure that they have met minimum energy efficiency requirements of loft (250mm) and cavity insulation (filled cavities).

Is there a quality scheme that backs it up?

All installations must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme and meet relevant required standards for each technology, including limits on harmful emissions for biomass systems.

How do I apply?

The recommended way is through the Ofgem RHI website