Renewable Heat Incentive The Renewable Heat Incentive

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat., RHI is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies among householders, communities and businesses and reward those who use renewable energy to heat their buildings. There are two types of RHI Scheme i.e. Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. Domestic RHI is open to homeowners, private landlords, social landlords and self-builders and the another one is to industry, businesses and public sector organisations

Domestic RHI

Launched on 9th April 2014 is open to homeowners, private landlords, social landlords and self-builders. It is a financial incentive scheme designed to encourage uptake of renewable heating among domestic consumers. The domestic RHI is targeted at, but not limited to, homes off the gas grid. Those without mains gas have the most potential to save on fuel bills and decrease carbon emissions.

The domestic RHI supports the following renewable heating technologies:

  • Biomass (wood fuelled) boilers
  • Biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers which provide space heating
  • Ground to water heat pumps
  • Air to water heat pumps
  • Solar thermal panels – flat plate or evacuated tube only which provide hot water for your home

Eligibility criteria

  • You must have a valid EPC (part of Green Deal Assessment)
  • You must be the owner of the renewable heating system and own or occupy (or both) the property it’s in.
  • The renewable heating system must be Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) certified or equivalent.
  • The heat produced by the heating system must be for an eligible use:
  • all heating systems must only provide heat to a domestic property.
  • all biomass heating systems and heat pumps must provide space (eg room) heating.
  • solar thermal systems must provide heating for domestic hot water only.

Video: Applying for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

Video: Applying for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

Get the basics on what you’ll need for the Domestic Renewable Heat incentive application form and how the process works.

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Introduced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the RHI scheme is split into two branches, one for domestic properties and the other for commercial properties. The aim of the scheme is to incentivise the uptake of renewable heat technology such as Biomass heating systems, Air Source and Ground Source Heat Pumps and Solar Thermal Water Heating systems. This, in addition to various other schemes, including the Green Deal and ECO, aim to reduce carbon emissions.

What support can I get?

The table below shows the financial support available depending on the technology you have installed at your property:

Air source heat pump Biomass Ground source heat pump Solar thermal
Tariff (p/k Wh renewable heat)(Applications submitted between 1 Jan 2015 and 31 Mar 2015 incl.) 7.3 10.98 18.80 19.2

As of the 1st January 2015, Biomass payments have been reduced. The reduction is in response to the massive uptake in biomass across the UK. This is a great sign for the industry and the move away from dirty fuels like oil and LPG. If you are considering installing a renewable heat technology then now is the time, the payments above are only guaranteed till the end of March 2015.

Tariff Rates and Payments RHI

Video: Tariff Rates and Payments RHI

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. RHI tariff rates and payments RHI for 7 years.

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How are the kWh for your property calculated?

The amount of support you can receive is based on the figures found at the bottom of the Energy Performance Certificate. These certificates are used for a number of reasons and assess the energy performance of your property. The energy assessment which leads to the EPC using the RdSAP software will also produce a heat load calculation which can be seen on page 5 0f 7 on your Energy Performance Certificate.

See the example below for a heat demand calculation:

Your Home Heat Demand

For the property above, you can see that the combined heat and water demand of the property is 29,435 kWh per year. Assuming that the technology is being used to provide both space heating and water heating then this figure multiplied by the corresponding p/kWh forms the basis of the payment schedule.

Those who successfully join the scheme can expect payments every quarter over a seven year period.

What technology is right for you?

Ofgem, who are the administrators of Renewable Heat Incentive program, have put together a small calculator to help you understand what payments you might receive depending on the technology. You can check this yourself through the following link

Each property is different and choosing the right renewable heat technology will depend on a number of factors.

The level of insulation in a property plays an important role in determining the heat load. When looking to reduce your energy bills and carbon emissions, it is a good idea to start with the fabric of a building, the roof space, walls and floor. This is a very most cost effective way of reducing your energy consumption. The level of insulation can also affect the type of technology you choose.

Considering Heat Pumps, an important point to remember is the coefficient or Performance (COP). This tells you how efficiently your heat pump is working and how well it transfers the power input into heat in the dwelling. A poorly insulated property will have a far lower COP due to the fact that the heat pump will have to work harder to heat an uninsulated property. The cost of running the heat pump will be larger as larger amounts of input energy are required.

For this reason heat pumps are largely found in newer build properties where the levels of insulation, in accordance with ever improving building regulations, are generally of a higher quality.

Video: Heating systems for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive:

Domestic RHI: Heating Systems For The Scheme

Find out the four heating system types eligible for the scheme — biomass; air source heat pumps; ground source heat pumps; solar thermal.

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Biomass heating systems have enjoyed a lot of success in rural areas. For stone buildings, which often do not have wall insulation, a biomass boiler may be a more appropriate option than a heat pump. The cost of biomass supplies will vary from region to region depending on the supply. Biomass boilers often burn wood pellets, though some models burn wood logs instead. Before deciding on the technology for your property you will need to consider the cost of Biomass. Being able to calculate the anticipated RHI payments will help in this regard.

Solar water heating is an excellent way of generating free hot water. Given the nature of weather patterns in the UK and in particular in Scotland, sun is not always guaranteed and therefor it is normal for a solar water heating system to have an auxiliary water heating source. This can be in the form of a biomass boiler, or the traditional oil or gas heating system. A hot water storage tank is required to store the hot water, which can be hooked up with the main heating system.

There are two main types of solar water heating, the flat bed panel or the evacuated tubes. Both perform the same task though the more expensive tube layout will also generate higher levels of heat transfer to the water system.

Conditions for RHI payments

Ofgem have identified loft insulation and cavity wall insulation as two conditions before any RHI payment is made. Therefore if you live in a property with an empty cavity wall, this will need to be filled before you can apply for RHI. If your property is relatively new, built in the 1990’s or later then you will most likely already have the cavity filled. The recommendations on your EPC report will detail whether or not you need to have the cavity filled. Many properties in rural Scotland are of stone construction, predominantly sandstone and granite. These properties do not have a cavity construction and hence this condition does not apply for these type of properties.

Loft insulation is an excellent measure to implement in your property. The cost of this measure is relatively low and can save a surprisingly large amount of money on your heating costs. Loft insulation will also reduce your carbon emissions, another good reason for having a proper amount of insulation installed. The recommended level of insulation is approximately 300mm and should be cross laid to ensure there is no gaps.

Further conditions include:

  1. The renewable heat technology cannot be used to heat multiple properties; it can only be used to heat one designated property for which you have a valid EPC and GDAR.
  2. For Biomass boilers, the mode of transporting the heat should be through wet system like radiators. The heater must also not be used for cooking purposes. In the case of solar water heating, it cannot be used to heat a swimming pool or similar facility and can only be used for domestic hot water.
  3. Air source heat pumps cannot use heat expelled from the property to heat the dwelling.
  4. If the technology you have is used to heat multiple properties then you may still be able to claim RHI payments through the commercial scheme.
  5. Your renewable technology must have been first commissioned from 15 July 2009. Any renewable technology installed and first commissioned before 15 July 2009 is not eligible.
  6. New build properties are not eligible for domestic RHI unless they are considered to be custom built. Properties not considered to be custom built must be occupied before the commissioning date on the MCS certificate.
  7. Building conversions, from commercial to domestic will be eligible under the custom build criteria.
  8. You must also have made some form of financial contribution to the installation of the renewable heat technology.

The terms and conditions of the RHI scheme are subject to change, so it is worthwhile keeping up to date with our blog and checking the Ofgem website when you plan to install to ensure you are fulfilling all of the conditions of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Can all types of renewable technology receive RHI payments?

No, not all types of renewable technology are eligible for RHI payments. It is important to note that wood burning stoves which do not have a back boiler for space heating, Photovoltaic Thermal Hybrid (PVT) and air-to-air heat pumps are not supported by the renewable heat incentive scheme.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels which generate electricity are subject to another funding program call Feed in Tariff (FIT). This is not related to RHI and as such PV panels will not be eligible for RHI payments. You must also apply within 12 months of first commissioning.

You must also ensure that the product/model you chose is eligible to receive payments. Ofgem have a prepared a list of eligible products, to ensure you are installing an eligible product please refer to the list:

What do I need in order to apply?

In order to proceed with an Renewable Heat Incentive Application you will need a Green Deal Assessment to be carried out by a qualified Green Deal Advisor. The installation must be carried out by an MCS accredited installer company. Upon completion of the install you will receive a valid MCS certificate. You will need a valid MCS certificate in order to apply.

If your installation is part of a custom build property development, you may not require a Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR).

For further information on the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme then please do not hesitate to contact us here . You can also find out more from the official Ofgem guide to the RHI scheme here: (

Useful contact numbers

Ofgem: 0300 003 0744

Home Energy Scotland: 0808 808 2282

Energy Saving Trust (England and Wales): 0300 123 1234

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