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Guide to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is an incentive programme providing quarterly payments to domestic customers using renewable heat technologies. Put more simply, if you use certain renewable technologies to heat your home or the water you use you will be eligible to claim payments for doing so.

The Renewable Heat Incentive is the first scheme in the world to reward owners of renewable heat technologies for the clean green energy they are producing and is a great reason to switch to renewables.

Payments to eligible system owners have now begun and all eligible systems installed since July 15th 2009 will be included in the programme (see Legacy Applications, below).

The information below provides an introduction to the scheme but we will run through it with you and how it relates to your home as part of our survey process. if you have any questions you can also contact a member of the team.

The RHI covers four technologies, all of which Solarsense are MCS accredited to install. We will always advise on the most appropriate technology for your home and the one which will give you the greatest savings on your bills.

We've compiled the highlights of the various technologies below, but you may also want to watch this short video from Ofgem:

  • Solar thermal
    • Flat plate or evacuated tubes only
    • Used for domestic water heating
    • Room heating and swimming pool heating are not eligible
  • Ground-source heat pumps
    • Used for room heating, or room and hot water heating
    • Must use a compressor driven by electricity
    • Must use a liquid to provide room heating (ie a radiator)
    • Must have a minimum Seasonal Performance Factor of 2.5
  • Air-source heat pumps
    • Used for room heating, or room and hot water heating
    • Must use a compressor driven by electricity
    • Must use a liquid to provide room heating (ie a radiator)
    • Must have a minimum Seasonal Performance Factor of 2.5
  • Biomass boilers
    • Used for room heating, or room and hot water heating
    • Must use a liquid to provide room heating (ie a radiator)
    • Must be designed and installed to use solid biomass fuel.
    • Must compy with air quality requirements
    • Boilers designed to generate heat for cooking are not eligible
  • Biomass stoves
    • Used for room heating, or room and hot water heating
    • Must be designed and installed to use with wood pellets
    • Must use a liquid filled heat exchanger, enclosed within the system
    • Must compy with air quality requirements
    • Log burning stoves are not eligible
    • Boilers designed to generate heat for cooking are not eligible

While all of these technologies will save you money on your bills, you may find that one is better suited to your home or lifestyle than another. Our team will advise you as to what will work best for you.

If you wanted to install two technologies, one to heat your water and another to heat your home, you would be able to make two applicatons to the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Payments
Payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive will be made to system owners for seven years for every unit of energy produced. They will also change annually in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI). The amounts paid (in pence) per generated unit of renewable heat are as follows:

Technology type p/kWh
Solar thermal 19.2
Ground-source heat pumps 18.8
Air-source heat pumps 7.3
Biomass boilers 12.2

For most people, payments will be based on estimates, though some may need to install a meter (see Do I need metering on the left).

Do the payments go down?
Once you join the RHI the payment rates you receive are secured. However the Government may reduce the tariffs made available to new applicants to the scheme over time. This is known as degresion.

What about the Renewable Heat Premium Payment?
Homeowners who have claimed the Renewable Heat Premium Payment can still apply for the RHI when it is launched, however the value of the RHPP will be deducted from your RHI payments over the seven years of the scheme. In effect the RHPP grant is paying you up-front some of the benefit to be received under the RHI.

See our Renewable Heat Premium Payment page for full details.

If you have already received the RHPP voucher you will be classed as a "Legacy applilcation". Please see further details below.

Green Deal Assessments
All applicants will need to complete a Green Deal Assessment (GDA) before applying and ensure they meet minimum energy efficiency requirements of loft (250mm) and cavity wall insulation where appropriate.

You may be eleigible from excemption from the insulation requirement, for example if you live in a listed building or your home is in a conservation area. Full details are available from Ofgem but you will need a registered professional (i.e. a member of your local planning office, or a conservation officer) to complete an "Evidence for insulation exemption" letter explaining why your property is exempt.

If you alreay have a Green Deal Assessment of your property you will not need to get another one, and, although you will need a Green Deal Assessment, you do not need to take out a Green Deal loan.

Legacy Applications
Systems installed since 15th July 2009, including those for which the RHPP was claimed, will be eligible to apply for the RHI as long as they have completed a Green Deal Assessment (see above), satisfy the requirements for insulation and their system meets the standards that applied at the time of installation. These cases are considered as "Legacy applications".

If you are unsure whether your system has an MCS certificate or would have met the standards at the time of installation please contact us and we can look into this for you.

Importantly - if you want to make a legacy application you only have one year from the scheme launch to do so.

Timing for applying
Because of the high numbers of legacy applicants who received the RHPP, the application process is staggered.

  • If you didn't receive the RHPP voucher or didn't use it, you can apply when the scheme opens
  • If you received and used the RHPP voucher before the 20th May 2013 you can apply for the RHI three months after the scheme opens
  • If you received and used the RHPP voucher on or after the 20th May 2013 you can apply for the RHI six months after the scheme opens

Again, you only have a year from the launch of the RHI to apply. If you are unsure about the process for legacy applications please contact us.

You can find out more about legacy applications in this Ofgem video:

Do I need metering?
Most homes joining the Renewable Heat Incentive won't need to install meters to receive payments, but some may need to, depening on their situations. As a guide, you may need metering if:

  • You have a back-up heating system at your home (an oil burner for example)
  • You have more than one renewable technology heating your home
  • Your home is only partially occupied
  • Your biomass boiler or stove doesn't heat your entire home

Solarsense will assess your property as part of our survey and clearly explain if you need a meter installed or not. If you do need a meter they are simple to fit.

The Ofgem video below helps to explain the process further:

The applicaton process

To apply for the scheme you will need to complete the secure online application form available on the Ofgem website.

There are a number of pieces of information you will need before you start the application:

  • Your MCS certificate number for your renewable heating system
  • Your Green Deal advice report number (Unless you are a self-builder)
  • Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) number.
  • If you need metering (see Do I need metering? in the left menu) - the metering information supplied by your installer.

If you have any questions about the process please contact us. You can also find out more in this video from Ofgem:

Ofgem have compiled a document which gives the answers to most Frequently Asked Questions. You can dowload it here.

If there's anything that still remails unclear please get in touch and we will do our best to help.