The Renewable Heat Incentive: An Introduction

By 2020, the Renewable Heat Incentive is intended to have altered our situation so that 12% of the heat we use is generated by renewable energy sources.

burning wood

Heating homes uses more energy than any other service in the UK, and just under a half of the country’s CO2 emissions and 60% of domestic energy bills are caused by the need to heat space and water. The heat we use is currently generated largely by burning fossil fuels, with under 1% of the heat we use coming from any kind of renewable source.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is aiming to change the way we heat our homes and water supply by giving us all the incentive to change. By 2020, the scheme is intended to have altered our situation so that 12% of the heat we use is generated by renewable energy sources. Between 2011 and 2014, the government has allowed a total budget of £860m for the scheme.

Renewable Heat Premium Payments

Before all of the details of the renewable heat incentive are worked out, an interim grant scheme is temporarily in place to aid the installation of domestic renewable heat sources. We are hoping to get final word of the domestic RHI plans in early 2014.

The  current rates under the Premium Payments scheme are:

Solar Thermal – £600 per unit

Air source Heat Pumps – £1,300 per unit

Biomass Boilers – £2,000 per unit

Ground Source Heat Pumps – £2,300 per unit

Anyone is able to apply for the vouchers for solar thermal panels, but otherwise the financial aid is given only to those installing equipment off the mains gas network.

The scheme was intended to end on 31 March 2013, but will now continue to the same date in 2014, by which time the domestic renewable heat incentive should have been finalised. Applications are handled by the Energy Saving Trust.

In order to qualify for the payments under the scheme, you will need to have a green deal assessment carried out and you will need to use an MCS accredited installer and equipment. You will also have to agree to give feedback on the performance of the equipment and you may be chosen at random to have the performance of the equipment metered. (Meter fittings are not charged.) The feedback and running of the installations will be used to influence the final form of the domestic renewable heat incentive.

The value of the voucher which you receive will be deducted from the RHI payments you receive when they begin in spring 2014.

For those who have installed heat pumps, everybody will be given 80% of their voucher value when a valid claim is made alongside a signed check list from the installer confirming that the installation can be fitted with a meter. After a metering team has checked that the system is really ‘meter ready’, and installed equipment, or if their installer has been trained to fit monitoring equipment and does so on EST’s behalf, householder’s will be given the final 20%.

In cases where the householder has indicated that they are not ready for the meter, they will be given the final 20% of the grant money at the end of the scheme. The installation of biomass boilers and solar thermal panel systems are not affected.

Image by Ian Barbour

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