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Your Renewable Heat Incentive questions answered

The domestic element of the Renewable Heat Incentive is to be introduced in Spring 2014 and along with this comes a lot of questions from homeowners. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government initiative that is designed to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technologies in UK homes, communities and businesses. The government has a 2020 goal to have 12% of heat sourced from renewable energy and this incentive is the first of its kind in the world.

Here are some of your questions answered regarding the new scheme and how you may be able to benefit from the scheme.

Who is responsible for administering the scheme?

Ofgem is responsible for the scheme. You can find out if you are eligible for the scheme at Ofgem’s RHI website. Volume one of the Guidance document is a good place to start.

What does the Domestic RHI offer homeowners?

The scheme offers UK government financial support for renewable heat targeted at off gas grid homes. It is not limited to this though.

What regions of the UK does the scheme cover?

Households in England, Wales and Scotland are eligible to apply for the scheme.

When can homeowners start applying for support?

The scheme will open for applications in Spring 2014 and will be run by Ofgem.

Who will the RHI scheme cover?

The scheme will cover single domestic dwellings. It will be available to owner-occupiers, private landlords, registered providers of social housing, third party owners of heating systems and self-builders.

What if I have already installed eligible technology?

If you have already installed renewable energy technology in your home you will be eligible for the scheme if you installed the equipment after 15th July 2009 and it meets the scheme criteria.

What financial support will be provided?

The financial support will be paid at a set rate per unit of renewable heat produced (kilowatt hour) for the next seven years to the owner of the heating system.

What technologies are included in the criteria for support?

You can apply to the scheme if you have air source heat pumps (ASHP), biomass systems, ground source heat pumps (GSHP) and solar thermal technologies. The amount of financial support you will received depends on the technology you install.

What are the support rates?

  • ASHP, GSHP, Biomass and Solar Thermal: Tariff 7.3, 12.2, 18.8 and 19.2.
  • Once you have your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) the renewable heat generated from biomass can be estimated more accurately.
  • For the ASHP and the GSHP the renewable heat generated will be based on an estimate of the heat demand from an EPC combined with an estimate of the pump’s efficiency.
  • The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) will be used to estimate the system performance of a solar thermal system.

Are there any extra incentives?

If you decide to install a monitoring service package along with your renewable heating system you will receive and additional incentive of £230 per year for your heat pumps and £200 for your biomass.

What additional rules for eligibility do I need to be aware of?

  • Your system must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. It must meet the standards for each technology, including the limits on harmful emissions for biomass installations.
  • You must complete a Green Deal Assessment before applying to the scheme. This will ensure you have met the standards required of loft and cavity insulation.
  • If you have already received a grant, this will be deducted to prevent a double subsidy.
  • Tariffs will be subject to annual change in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI)

Are there any exceptions?

Legacy biomass systems installed between 15th July 2009 and the launch of the RHI will not need to meet the emissions limits requirements.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of information regarding the Renewable Heat Incentive and we will follow up with more detailed reports on various segments of the incentive. In the meantime you can source your own information on policy over at the UK Government website.

What are your thoughts on the Renewable Heat Incentive? Do you think you are eligible for the scheme or are you interested in installing renewable energy systems as a result of this incentive? Tell us your story below.

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