The renewable heat incentive is a UK Government scheme aimed to encourage the use of renewable energy in homes. But what’s next for the incentive?
You may or may not have heard of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): it’s a scheme formed by the UK Government to prompt private homes, communities and businesses to instal renewable energy technologies for heating, with the added bonus of financial support.
Those who join the scheme – and, importantly, follow its rules – will receive quarterly payments for seven years based on the amount of green, renewable energy their systems are estimated to produce.
The scheme was supposed to end this March, but last year it was announced that the scheme would run for an additional year, ending on 31 March 2022.
Here’s everything you need to know about the renewable heat incentive and its upcoming changes.
What is the renewable heat incentive?
The RHI is a UK Government scheme aiming to maximise the uptake of renewable heat technologies among householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives, with the ultimate aim of contributing towards the 2020 ambition of 12% of heating coming from renewable sources.
There are two versions of RHI: domestic, and non-domestic. Domestic RHI is designed for the installations that heat one household; aka, private residences. Non-domestic RHI, on the other hand, is for those renewable heating systems found in public, commercial, or industrial facilities.
What technologies are applicable for the renewable heat incentive?
The following renewable energy sources are applicable for the domestic RHI scheme:
- Ground source heat pumps
- Air source heat pumps
- Biomass boilers
- Solar thermals
If you generate heat through one of these renewable sources, then you may be eligible to apply.
What’s next for the renewable heat incentive?
As mentioned, the scheme has been extended for an additional year, taking it up to 31 March 2022: this means you have until midnight on this date to apply.
The scheme will continue in its current form, and there are no immediate plans to alter the eligibility criteria for applicants.
However, there will now be a flexible third allocation of tariff guarantees (TG). Past TGs have made provision for a deadline date – at this point, a plant must have commissioned and properly made an application in order to receive the secured tariff. Now, a plant will be required to submit sufficiently made Stage 2 information prior to 31 March 2021, but they will be able to set a date for submission of Stage 3 commissioning evidence up until 31 March 2022. Read more on tariff guidance here.
There will also be an extension of commissioning deadlines for projects currently holding a tariff guarantee to at least mid-March 2021. The hope is that this will ease the burden on those with existing TGs to meet their predetermined commissioning deadlines in light of any disruption caused by the pandemic. You can read more on this change here.
Sounds good – how do I apply?
In order to apply for the domestic RHI, you must live in England, Scotland or Wales. You must also own a home, be either a private or social landlord, or have built a new property yourself.
You will need:
- Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate number
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) number
- Occupancy Assessment document
- Personal information and bank details
Once submitting these documents and your application, you will have automatically consented to all ongoing obligations that come with the scheme. These include:
- That you still own a heating system in your property
- That the system is in good working order and has not been substituted
- That the meter you have been required to install is in good operating condition
- Any other criteria that you need to fulfil regarding the occupants of the property and your heating system
Be aware that Ofgem will carry out audit checks to ensure that every domestic RHI participant is adhering to the scheme rules: you could be chosen at any time for this.