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Explaining the Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK government incentive scheme which offers homeowners payment for installing systems which generate renewable energy to heat the home – including heat pumps and biomass boilers.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme was launched in April 2014 and is open for new applications until 31 March 2022 when the scheme will be reviewed. It offers a financial incentive for homeowners to install renewable heat technologies in their home – effectively rewarding people for using renewable energy to heat their homes. These technologies are often expensive to install, and so the RHI aims to bring costs more in line with conventional fossil fuel heating appliances.

The technologies included in the RHI scheme are:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Biomass boilers
  • Solar thermal panels.

There are also additional payments available if approved Metering and Monitoring Service Package (MMSP) equipment is installed, to monitor how well the technology is performing

How can I apply for the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Applications for the domestic RHI are made through Ofgem’s website.

As part of the application, the homeowner will need to have an Energy Performance Certificate and Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) documentation from the installer – this certification ensures the installer is safe and competent and that the technology meets good standards of performance.

How do the payments work?

Payments are made to the homeowner every quarter for a period of seven years after installation of the technology. The amount of the payment is calculated using the heating needs of the home and the efficiency of the heating system, so will vary from home to home.

The tariffs are currently:

  • Biomass – 6.97p/kWh generated
  • Air source heat pump –  10.85p/kWh generated (capped at 20,000kWh per year)
  • Ground source heat pump – 21.16p/kWh generated (capped at 30,000kWh per year)
  • Solar thermal –  21.36p/kWh generated
  • Heat pump MMSP – £57 per quarter

The Government has a Renewable Heat Incentive calculator which will give you an idea of the payments your home could receive.

Which technology should I choose?

It isn’t always as simple as deciding that you want to install one of these renewable heat technologies into your home to get the Renewable Heat Incentive payments – it’s important to properly assess your property first and find out what would be the best route for you.

The best way to do this is through working with independent retrofit professionals who can assess your home and offer advice on what the different technologies could offer for your home, as well as any additional measures you would need to explore for your home. For instance, heat pumps are only an efficient heating system if your home is already sufficiently insulated, so you may need to install or top-up your home’s insulation first.

We’d recommend starting with our Cosy Homes Plan Builder – an online tool which allows you to view your home’s currently energy profile and explore different measures. From there you can submit your plan to our team of experts who will book you in for a home assessment and Whole House Plan, giving you all the recommendations you would need to get started with generating renewable heat for your home.

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