Renewable heat incentive

Wondering how to sign up to the Renewable Heat Incentive?

With the government offering grants to people who install renewable heating technology, we take a look at the Renewable Heat Incentive and the benefits of signing up

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You may be aware that the government is planning to have at least 12% of heating derived from sustainable energy sources by 2020. Well a big part of this objective relies on the success of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The RHI is a programme set up by the government, which aims to promote the use of renewable heat technology in Britain. The scheme provides financial incentives to households (domestic) or businesses (non-domestic) which install certain renewable technologies. You can find a full list below.

In the words of DECC: “The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat.”

Who is eligible for the RHI?

There are two parts to the RHI scheme: Domestic and Non-domestic RHI.

Domestic RHI first launched in April 2014 and, as its name suggests, is aimed at households. Homeowners, landlords and self-builders (individuals or groups who built their own homes) are all eligible to apply.

Non-Domestic RHI was launched in November 2011 and is aimed at eligible installations in a wide variety of sectors, including commercial, public, not-for-profit and industrial. Schools, hospitals, small businesses and community heating schemes where several homes are heated by a single renewable heat source, can also apply.

How do I apply for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive?

In order to join the Domestic RHI scheme, the renewable heat technology which you install must heat a single domestic property. The building must also have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The latter is proof that the property is a domestic dwelling.

An EPC provides information about how much energy a home uses, as well as any technology which could make it more energy efficient. You will need an EPC if you plan to sell, rent or buy a property. It is included as part of the Green Deal Assessment, which is another requirement for most properties looking to join the RHI initiative.

Energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for administering the RHI initiative and you can find the application form here.

The RHI scheme is only available in England, Scotland and Wales.

How do I apply for the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive?

Anyone looking to apply for a Non-Domestic RHI has to abide by a number of rules which are laid out by Ofgem. You can find full details of the Non-Domestic scheme on Ofgem’s website.

What are the financial benefits of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Domestic RHI provides financial incentives to owners of domestic properties who install renewable heating technologies on their premises.

The scheme is aimed at, but not exclusive to, homes not connected to the main gas grid. The reason for this is simple: homes not connected to the gas grid are also those with the most to gain by using the technology, as it is likely to significantly reduce energy bills and carbon emissions.

The Domestic RHI will pay out at the following rate, per unit of heat generated for seven years:

Air-source heat pumps 7.3p/kWh
Ground and water-source heat pumps 18.8p/kWh
Biomass-only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers 12.2p/kWh
Solar thermal panels (flat plate and evacuated tube for hot water only) 19.2 p/kWh

Each tariff has been calculated based on the estimated costs of renewable heat generation over the next 20 years. Payments are made quarterly.

What are the financial benefits of the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Non-Domestic RHI scheme will contribute to relevant programmes for the lifetime duration of the renewable heat technology (20 years). Payments are made every quarter and once an installation is accredited, you will be granted a tariff level based on your individual circumstances (type of renewable heat technology used, size of scheme).

You can find a detailed table of payments on Ofgem’s Non-Domestic RHI website.

What if your property doesn’t match either description?

If the property you would like to apply for the RHI with does not fit either description (Domestic or non-Domestic) or the relevant renewable system provides heat for more than one building, you can have your case assessed.

Ofgem does, however, provide a series of general guidelines for people unsure where there property fits in:

Properties which contain a home office are typically eligible for Domestic RHI.
Buildings with annexes attached to the home are usually covered by a single EPC and as such are usually eligible for Domestic RHI.
Properties which include a main house and self-contained (own bathroom and kitchen) secondary residence, each heated by a different renewable heating system, would usually both require a separate EPC and as such would not be entitled to Domestic RHI.

Contact Ofgem

You can contact Ofgem for more information on the RHI application process by email on rhi.enquiry@ofgem.gov.uk, or by phone on 0845 200 2122 (Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 5pm, and Friday, from 9am to 4.30pm).

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