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DECC launches RHI calculator to estimate financial rewards

By Katie Anderson on August 6, 2014

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has launched their Renewable Heat Incentive calculator to demonstrate the financial rewards available to households who invest in renewable heat systems, including heat pumps, solar thermal panels and biomass boilers. 

The online tool allows consumers to calculate how much money they can potentially earn if they were to apply for the subsidy scheme, which is available in England, Scotland and Wales.

Launched in April, the domestic RHI provides incentive payments to homeowners, landlords and self builders as a means of helping to offset the cost of low carbon technologies. Once you’ve inputted various details about your property and the renewable heating system, the tool will estimate how much money you are likely to receive.

Commenting on its launch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change, Amber Rudd said: “The domestic RHI helps households offset the cost of installing renewable heating systems. From today, by entering just a few simple details into this calculator, people can now instantly see how much they could be paid through the scheme.”

Renewable heating systems can bring down your heating bills and cut your carbon footprint. Households both on and off the gas grid can apply for the domestic RHI. There have been 4,448 applications since its launch in April, of which air source heat pumps have been the most popular with 36% of funding, followed by solar thermal panels (at 25%) and biomass boilers (24%). Only 14% of the funding to date relates to ground source heat pumps.

Potential savings are based on the type of heating system you install. Once you’ve tapped in a few details the renewable heat calculator will tell you how much you should expect to earn. According to Steve Roberts, Head of Market Intelligence at DECC, the calculator seems to be a hit: “It’s proving popular, with almost 5,000 people trying it out in the first week.”

The launch of the calculator has been welcomed by the renewable heating industry, not least because it will help renewable energy installers demonstrate the financial benefits to potential customers. Of course the calculator won’t be able to tell the homeowner which renewable heating product they should adopt; it’s simply designed to estimate the financial rewards available.

Commenting on its launch, Anna Livesey, from the Sustainable Energy Association said they supported the RHI calculator as a simple online tool to estimate RHI payments for consumers. “The calculator will help raise general awareness of the domestic RHI and support installers in explaining the scheme to their customers,” she added.

However, it does have its limitations and doesn’t provide the whole picture in terms of potential benefits. As Mike Landy from the Renewable Energy Association points out, the calculator just calculates RHI payments: “Importantly the calculator only calculates the RHI payment and not the fuel saving… it does not even refer to the fuel savings angle, so consumers could fail to take these into account when calculating their overall return.”

If you’re thinking of installing any kind of renewable heating system, it’s vital your home is well insulated. And always get a least three quotes from MCS accredited installers before you commit to renewable heating.