Renewable Heat Incentive

Solar Thermal Hot Water and Domestic Heating in Bradford on Avon

In 2011, Climate Friendly Bradford started to promote adoption of Photovoltaic electricity generation across Bradford and the surrounding villages as means of reducing individual householder’s carbon footprint, and, at the same time capitalising on the government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) that is designed to offset initial investment in PV and provide a return for feeding surplus energy back into the electricity grid.   The FIT and a similar Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) were heralded in the 2008 Energy Act. Although the FIT has been available for residential installations for some time, it is only now that the RHI is becoming available to domestic installations (non-residential has been available since November 2011). The RHI will be payable to residential installations from Spring 2014. Below is a brief summary of the RHI that, hopefully, will make it easier for you to consider renewable heat sources as a means of heating your home and meeting your hot water needs.

So, what is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a world first, designed to help the UK meet our carbon reduction targets by incentivising renewable heat. The scheme is divided into two parts for domestic and non-domestic installations, with the domestic part to launch in spring 2014.

Much like the FIT for renewable electricity systems, the RHI will pay generators of renewable heat for the energy they produce.

How much will be paid?

When the scheme begins in 2014, homeowners will be eligible for a rate of 19.2p per unit of heat produced for a period of 7 years and anyone who has had a system installed since the 15th July 2009 can apply.

Is my Installation Eligible

Various renewable energy systems are covered by the RHI but the ones most likely to be fitted to residential properties include: Biomass boilers (wood pellet and log fuelled) Ground Source Heat Pumps (heating water) (note Air Source Heat Pumps are not eligible initially) and Solar Thermal.

Crucially you will need an MCS certificate and must have a Green Deal Assessment before applying and any public grants, such as the RHPP will be deducted to avoid double subsidies.

How long do the tariffs last?

The current plan is that they will be paid for 20 years from the registration date and index-linked for inflation.

As with promotion of PV across Bradford on Avon, the company Southern Solar has again agreed to support Climate Friendly Bradford’s new initiative to promote adoption of the RHI. Clearly Southern Solar’s expertise lies in the solar based option (clue is in the name) and is ready to provide advice and guidance about the installation of solar thermal heating systems and can be contacted on 0117 953 9090.  One likely question of interest to owners of solar Thermal Installations who had it fitted before the advent of the RHI may be:

Is My Current Solar Thermal Installation Eligible for RHI?

There are eligibility criteria. For Solar Thermal they are:

  • The installation is under 200kWth
  • The installation was completed from July 2009 onwards.
  • The heat generated is being used for eligible purposes – i.e. space heating and heating water
  • No grants or public funding has been received in lieu of capital costs (grants can sometimes be paid back)
  • The installation was new when it was commissioned at the site.

Only MCS or Solar Keymark approved products and only MCS accredited installers are eligible.

CFB welcomes Southern Solar’s support for the launch of the RHI in Bradford but reminds readers that other approaches to providing renewable heat, which is also eligible for the RHI, may be worth considering when solar thermal is either ineffective due to lack of suitable roofspace or a solar thermal installation would not meet the heat requirement.   Listed below are organisations and websites that can provide further information related to those options.

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