Renewable Heat Incentive: Now Available for Domestic Properties

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is what the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) call the first step to transforming the way we heat our homes.

The government scheme provides financial support for renewable heat which targets primarily, but is not limited to, off-gas grid households. The scheme supports the installation of air source heat pumps, biomass systems, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal technologies, and support is paid at a set rate per unit of renewable heat produced for seven years to the owner of the technology.

The tariffs available vary depending on the technology installed, and are paid in pence per kilowatt hour (p/kWh). The current tariffs available are 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps, 12.2p/kWh for biomass systems, 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps, and 19.2p/kWh for solar thermal technologies.

All installations must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and the scheme will cover single domestic dwellings with eligible technology installed since 15th July 2009. New build properties other than self-build will not qualify for RHI.

Greg Barker, Minister of State (DECC), said in the government’s namesake publication:

“We have sought to develop a scheme that is sustainable and delivers renewable heat in the most cost-effective way, learning from past experience.”

An additional incentive is also available for applicants who install metering and monitoring service packages. This incentive currently stands at £230 per year for heat pumps and £200 per year for biomass boilers and is similar to a service contract where the installer will be able to view measured data from their system over the internet. The intention is to encourage peace of mind in the customer that the technology is working as expected, and to enable the installer to improve performance and diagnose common problems.

Mr Barker continued:

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency go hand in hand, which is why it is so important that the RHI works alongside the Green Deal. Renewable heating technologies work best in an energy efficient home, and reducing the size of the heating demand in each house means we can support more households through the RHI.”

Over time as threshold figures are reached, a system of degression will be introduced to control costs. This, put simply, is a reduction in tariffs, and further details will be announced in Autumn including whether an overall cap will be introduced.