Published by Kate Anderson on April 9th, 2014

Five years ago the Government first announced plans to introduce an incentive scheme for domestic adopters of green heating systems.

In a press release this morning, it has been confirmed that the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive has gone live, finally.

Owners of renewable heating systems, such as air source heat pumps, solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps will be celebrating this morning after having had to endure a rather long and tedious wait to benefit from Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments.

Households in England, Scotland and Wales who generate their own renewable heating and/or hot water through renewable heating systems will receive RHI tariff payments ranging from 7.3p/kWh to 19.2p/kWh, depending on the technology installed. Payments will be made every quarter over a seven year period.

Commenting on the scheme Energy Minister Greg Barker said:

“This is the first scheme of its kind in the world – showing yet again that the UK is leading the way in the clean energy sector.

“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.”

The Government has introduced the RHI scheme to make it more affordable for homes off the gas grid, around three million of them, as well as on-grid households keen to move away from expensive traditional methods of heat generation by switching to renewable heating.

By making renewable heating products like air source heat pumps more affordable, households will be able to cut their energy bills and lower their carbon footprint. New and legacy systems (installed from 15 July 2009 onwards) will both be eligible under the scheme which targets homeowners and private and social landlords and self-builders.

In order to benefit from the RHI payments a range of criteria must be met:

  • Systems must be installed by an MCS accredited renewable energy installer AND the installed technology must be MCS accredited.
  • You’ll also need a Green Deal assessment before you can apply for the RHI. The Green Deal assessor will survey your home, taking into account its existing energy efficiency. Where necessary energy saving improvements will be recommended by the assessor to make your home more efficient.
  • How well insulated is your home? You may have to upgrade your home’s insulation (lofts must be insulated to at least 250mm) and ensure that you have adequate cavity wall insulation.

Back in July 2013 the Government published the tariff rates for domestic adopters of green heating, which are:

  • Solar thermal – 19.2p/kWh
  • Ground source heat pumps – 18.8p/kWh
  • Biomass boilers and biomass pellet stoves with a back boiler – 12.2p/kWh
  • Air source heat pumps (air-to-water) – 7.3p/kWh

Commenting on today’s announcement, the Renewable Energy Association’s Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska said:

“DECC, Ofgem and industry have been working for years on the Domestic RHI, and its launch today is a major milestone for the Government’s green policy record. Households off the gas grid now have a financially attractive clean energy alternative to oil and electric heating.

“Getting quotes from at least three MCS-registered installers is essential to ensure you get the best installation for your home at the best value for your budget.”

If you’re interested in installing a ground source or air source heat pump and benefitting from RHI payments – start by sourcing up to three quotes from approved MCS accredited heat pump installers.