Government confirms launch of domestic RHI today

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.

Heat pump MCS deadline inches closer

Published by Kate Anderson on September 26th, 2013

Time is running out to register your ground source and air source heat pumps on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme database. If you own one of these renewable heating products you have until 4pm on Tuesday 22 October to get your system registered. 

You must meet the deadline if you want to take advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme which goes live next year. By registering your system you’ll be eligible to apply for the RHI and get paid for generating your own renewable heat.

The domestic RHI tariffs were announced back in July, with the Government confirming owners of ground source heat pumps who meet the qualifying criteria will receive 18.8p/kWh. Households who have installed air source heat pumps (air-to-water) would achieve a rate of 7.3p/kWh if they signed up for the domestic scheme. Air-to-air heat pumps are not eligible for the RHI.

Heat pumps installed on or after 15 July 2009 are eligible for the RHI, but in order to apply for the scheme you will need your unique MCS installation number, which appears on the MCS certificate you should have received after your heat pump system was installed. Without this you won’t be able to make an RHI application.

Other adopters of green heating technologies, such as solar water heating and biomass boilers will also need to make sure their systems are registered on the MCS database.

If you haven’t received your MCS installer certificate number get in touch with the company who carried out your heat pump installation and get your system registered on the MCS database before 22 October, otherwise you’ll miss out on one of the key benefits of installing green heating technolgies – RHI tariff payments.

What will I need to register for the RHI?

When the RHI launches you will require the following to apply for tariff payments:

  • Your MCS certificate installer number
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Green Deal assessment report
  • Loft and cavity walls insulated to the minimum standards

RHI applications are to be administered by Ofgem. When completing your application form you must also declare whether you have received funding from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) as this will need to be deducted from RHI payments.


Kensa secures RHPP funding for social housing providers

Published by Kate Anderson on August 19th, 2013

A UK manufacturer of ground source heat pumps has managed to secure renewable heat funding for five social housing providers keen to switch to heat pumps as a cost effective method of heating their housing stock.

A joint bid with Kensa Engineering for funding from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme proved successful, enabling social housing providers including Devon & Cornwall Housing Ltd and Yorkshire Housing Ltd to take advantage of the renewable heating scheme.

Registered social landlords have the opportunity to bid for RHPP Fast Track funding to support the installation of renewable heating systems like heat pumps in social housing stock. A total funding pot of £7 million was on the table, and combined the five lucky social housing providers – which also includes Shropshire Rural Housing Ltd, Ocean Housing and Tarka Housing – share funds in excess of £2 million.

Kensa is commited to helping social housing providers secure financial assistance and continues to work together with a number of social housing providers in order to secure additional funding for retrofitting renewable heating technologies like heat pumps through the RHPP Social Housing Competition.

The Fast Track competition has proved popular, with more than fifty applications, of which seven were for ground source heat pumps.

Bids were scored against strict criteria, which included:

  • Value for money
  • Energy savings
  • Deliverability
  • Community engagement

All of the successful social housing providers must have their retrofit ground source heat pump projects completed before the end of March 2014.

Social landlords get bite of £7m RHPP fund

Published by Kate Anderson on July 25th, 2013

It seems a growing number of social landlords across Britain are chomping at the bit to get a bite of the £7 million Renewable Heat Premium Payment to help bring down their tenants’ heating bills by installing renewable heating. 

Yesterday (24 July) the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced the lucky winners of the social landlords competition, naming the chosen 46 who would benefit from the scheme, taking a share of the £7 million pot provided in the latest round of the renewable heat competition.

Launched back in May, successful social landlords who put in a bid for a portion of the pot include Devon and Cornwall Housing and Stroud District Council, whose tenants will see the cost of their home heating bills fall once renewable heating products have been installed. While Stroud District council ia aiming to install more than 400 air source heat pumps, Devon and Cornwall Housing has plans to install in excess of 150 ground source heat pumps.

The RHPP for social landlords enables councils and housing associations to bid for funding to install a range of renewable heating, including heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal hot water.

Commenting on the renewable heat competition, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said the funding would be another boost for social landlords and would aid the installation of almost 2,400 renewable heating technologies and help cash strapped families save money by lowering their energy bills.

Barker added: “The second strand of our renewable heat competition is still open to bids so I would encourage those who have not yet taken advantage of the funding available to get on board.”

Bids were assessed by a panel of representatives which included the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Energy Saving Trust, with the winners selected on value for money and the range of renewable heat products being installed.

The window of opportunity for social landlords will remain open until 27 September 2013, with installations to be completed by June 2014.

RHI heat pump tariffs announced

Published by Kate Anderson on July 24th, 2013

Ever since the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was announced four years ago, domestic adopters of heat pumps and other green heat technologies have been forced to play one of the longest waiting games in history.

But when the Government published its proposed tariff rates earlier this month it meant the wait was finally over.

By announcing the RHI tariff rates the Department of Energy and Climate Change has effectively given renewable heat products a much needed confidence boost, encouraging households to embrace ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps as a cost-effective method of providing space heating and heating hot water.

The domestic RHI tariff rates the Government is proposing to pay households who have heat pumps installed are:

The Government has set various ground rules for green heat adopters who wish to apply for the RHI tariffs, including:

  • Heat pumps to have been installed after 15 July 2009.
  • Applicants to have a Green Deal assessment.
  • Homes must have at least 250mm of loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, where appropriate.

The Renewable Heat Incentive targets households whose homes aren’t connected to the mains gas grid to achieve lower energy bills by installing renewable heat products including heat pumps.

Up to £2,300 available for heat pumps with RHPP

Published by Kate Anderson on July 22nd, 2013

First introduced back in 2011 as a means of encouraging and supporting the uptake of renewable heat technologies, in May the Government announced plans to increase the values of its Renewable Heat Premium Payment voucher scheme.  

The RHPP as it tend to be known offers one-off grant payments to put towards the cost of installing air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and other renewable heat products. Thanks to the Department of Energy and Climate Change increasing the amount of financial assistance, it means more money is available to householders keen to switch to generating their own renewable heat.

From May 2013, £2,300 has been made available to help fund the cost of installing a ground source heat pump; this has been increased from £1,250 when the scheme was first launched in 2011. Air source heat pump grants don’t fair quite as well, although at £1,300 it’s an improvement on the previous figure of £850.

The RHPP will remain open for applicants until the end of March, prior to the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive itself, where green heating adopters eligible for RHI tariffs will get paid for generating their own renewable heat. It’s worth noting that vouchers are available on a first come, first served basis. So the sooner you apply the greater the chance of securing a grant.

To be eligible for the RHPP your home will need to be assessed as part of the Green Deal.  The survey will establish how energy efficient your home is and, where necessary, suggest energy saving measures to bring it up to an acceptable level.




Boost For Heat Pump Planning Permission Issues

Published by Kate Anderson on September 21st, 2011

Energy secretary Chris Huhne has given heat pump technology a boost, indicating that planning permission issues pertaining to air source heat pumps should soon be lifted.

As it stands, anyone wanting to install an air source heat pump – as opposed to a ground source heat pump – requires planning permission for the system to be fitted. The planning ruling has been under revision for some time, but it looks as though air source heat pumps are on course to become permitted development sooner rather than later.

The planning permission issue was raised during Mr Huhne’s attendance at the Southampton Eco Event, which was hosted by Freedom Heat Pumps. When broached about the subject, the energy secretary said that although some restrictions – including consideration for noise – still needed to be addressed, the current restrictions were close to be lifted.

Allowing air source heat pumps to be exempt from the planning system would certainly be a boost for the industry. Mr Huhne also spoke very briefly about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), and touched on the reasons for the delay when it came to including air source heat pumps in the scheme.

“The data taken during the Carbon Trust study showed that there were still significant problems with the application of air source heat pumps and a further one year study of different installations will allow us to make a more informed decision,” he said, addressing attendees.

Mr Huhne added that a final decision and further announcements should be made in January or February next year.

The event at Freedom Heat Pumps showroom in Eastleigh gave members of the public the opportunity to mingle with renewable heating contractors and learn more about the technologies available.

Heat Pumps Important For Low Carbon Future

Published by Kate Anderson on September 12th, 2011

Energy secretary Chris Huhne is calling on the UK to not overlook the importance of heat pumps, as the technology continues to remain “off the radar” for many people.

A new set of updates to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme MIS3005 guidelines was launched last week, to which the energy secretary has put his weight behind.

The new guidelines have been put together to make sure heat pump installers select the right devices for customers and to help increase investor confidence in the technology. The Government will also be implementing a training and awareness  programme to aid installers.

It is anticipated that the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), together with new stricter guidelines could help the UK achieve its low carbon goals. Although the European Heat Pump Association believes the UK has the potential to become the number one market for new investment, currently we trail behind the likes of Sweden, France and Germany for heat pump installations.

“You only need to talk to the Chief Scientific Adviser for a few minutes before you realise how important heat pumps are,” said Mr Huhne.

“They can play a real part in our low carbon future, yet for most people in the UK they’re entirely off the radar,” he added.

According to the Energy Savings Trust, to date some 1,463 vouchers were issues during the first month of the scheme, with air source heat pumps proving the most popular, having achieved 511 vouchers. Ground source heat pumps had accounted for 283 vouchers.

Also in the pipeline, air source heat pumps could soon benefit from permitted development rights. The Department for Communities and Local Government is working to make the technology exempt from the planning system.

Heat Pumps Proving Most Popular Under RHPP

Published by Kate Anderson on August 16th, 2011

It was only launched two weeks ago, but already the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme is proving to be a popular incentive, and none more so when it comes to heat pump technology.

Since the launch of the RHPP on 1 August, Greenwise has reported considerable interest in consumers wishing to install air source heat pumps.

With grants of up to £1,250 available towards the installation of ground source heat pumps, and £850 to help install an air source heat pump, the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme aims to encourage people to install renewable heating technologies. The RHPP will run until March 2012 and is a one-off payment available in the form of vouchers.

According to figures obtained by Greenwise, the highest proportion of vouchers – some 36% and more than 900 vouchers – have been issued so far for air source heat pumps, totaling more than £750,000.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, prior to the scheme’s launch, the majority of enquiries were for solar hot water systems, although this hasn’t reflected in the volume of vouchers issued, with solar thermal accounting for 29% of vouchers. Bringing up the rear are ground source heat pumps with 21% and biomass boilers at 14%.

Commenting in a blog, the EST said that schemes like this always featured a few surprises, and that “the trailblazing technology, at the moment, in terms of vouchers being given out is air source heat pumps.”

Aimed at the 4 million UK homes that aren’t heated by mains gas, through the RHPP, the Government has made grants of £15 million available, with £12 million set aside for residential homeowners and £3 million to social housing providers.

Event Set to Thrash Out Heat Pump Issues

Published by Kate Anderson on July 27th, 2011

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Magazine will be holding a Q&A event in September, designed to thrash out issues currently being faced by the air conditioning industry.

From the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to refrigerant regulations, the latest RAC Question Time will give the industry the opportunity to address some of the major issues facing suppliers, installers and their customers.

The Regulation, Energy and the Heat Pump Challenge event will be based upon the BBC’s Question Time format, and will enable delegates to pose questions to a panel of experts, and debate the answers. The panel will comprise of technology experts, customers, consultants and policy experts.

Topics to be debated will include the planning challenges for the use of new renewable heating technologies like ground source heat pumps, and what the Renewable Heat Incentive will mean for specification and supply of heat pumps.

The event is scheduled to take place on 14 September 2011.

For more information go to