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Renewable Heat Incentive now open for domestic customers

By Katie Anderson on April 22, 2014

April has been quite a significant month for domestic owners of renewable heating, thanks to the long awaited launch of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI). Delayed for near on five years, households with ground source heat pumps, solar thermal hot water systems, air source heat pumps and biomass boilers will now be able to apply for the RHI, which pays adopters of these types of technologies for generating their own green heating and/or hot water.

Of course, certain criteria has been set by the Government, with the scheme open to homeowners, self builders and private and social landlords across England, Scotland and Wales. Installations must have been carried out by an MCS accredited renewable energy installer – and the product itself must also be accredited with MCS. You’ll also require a Green Deal assessment, to ensure your property is up to energy efficiency standards. If it’s not, the Green Deal assessor will advise you to make the necessary home improvements, such as improving your home insulation through installing cavity wall insulation and/or topping up your loft insulation where necessary.

New installations as well as legacy systems installed from 15 July 2009 are eligible for the green heating scheme. But tariff payments will vary, depending on the technology. Solar thermal systems are eligible for 19.2p/kWh, while ground source heat pumps qualify for 18.8p/kWh. If you’ve got a biomass boiler or a biomass pellet stove with a back boiler, you’ll benefit from 12.2p/kWh. Air-to-water air source heat pumps can achieve 7.3p/kWh.

RHI payments will last for seven years and are set to be paid every quarter. While off grid households – those who have to rely on expensive electric or oil heating systems – are the main target of the scheme, the RHI is also favoured by on grid households who want to bring down their heating bills and cut their carbon footprint.

Andy Deacon from the Energy Saving Trust said the domestic RHI will make renewable heat more cost-effective for the 6% of UK homes not connected to mains gas.

“With rising energy bills and worries about energy security, there needs to be a major transformation in the way we heat our homes, with the domestic RHI helping to make this a reality through enabling households to receive an income for renewable energy generation, while also achieving financial and carbon savings,” he said.

Commenting on the scheme’s domestic launch, Energy Minister Greg Barker said the UK was “leading the way in the clean energy sector” and that the RHI would enable people to make their homes warmer and cheaper to run.

“Not only will people have warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills, they will reduce their carbon emissions, and will also get cash payments for installing these new technologies.”