29 Jan 2015

Renewables: Your guide to the RHI

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The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat. In April 2014 the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive was launched to offer financial support to the owners of renewable heating systems for seven years.

Tthis UK Government scheme was first launched to encourage homeowners, communities and businesses to generate and use renewable energy to heat buildings instead of fossil fuels. Domestic RHI is open to self-builders and renovators whose projects include heating systems that use naturally replenished energy, regardless of whether the property is off or on mains gas. Homeowners that tick the relevant boxes receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat the system produces.

The starting point for applying to the scheme is that your renewable heating system is in a property that has a domestic EPC. This proves to Ofgem that your property is assessed as a domestic ‘property’. If your property isn’t a self-build then you will also need a Green Deal Assessment. Self-build properties do not need this because they are built to recent building regulation standards.

Online resources

For most households, payments are based on an estimation of your renewable heating system’s annual heat use. If you are thinking about installing a renewable heating system then the Government offers an RHI online payment calculator to estimate how much your payments might be, however this should only been seen as an indication, not a guarantee. The calculator also allows you to compare estimates across different technologies.

As well as being one of the four eligible heating system types, you should check that the make and model of your heating system appears on the Product Eligibility List in the Ofgem checklist. If a system is listed as ‘to be determined’ on the PEL, it means that Ofgem has not yet received all the information needed from the product manufacturer. If you installed before the scheme opened there are some differences in eligibility requirements, so check your system against the factsheets available online.

All biomass products installed after 9th April 2014 will need as Emission Certificate. If it is a biomass product and has no emissions certificate you will need to ask your installer to complete a form that can be downloaded from Ofgem.

In November last year the Department of Energy and Climate Change published a report based on an RHI applicant census eight months after the domestic RHI opened. The report showed that 71% of RHI participants reported no problems with their application and 82% found the application form easy. Two thirds did not face any difficulties when installing their renewable heating technology and nine in ten are satisfied with the finished product.

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