Since its launch in April 2014 over 50,000 people have installed a renewable heating system and are now benefiting from the UK government's innovative Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) scheme which pays beneficiaries over 7 years following the commissioning of their system. The 50,000 milestone was passed in July 2016.
"This is positive news at a time of government cuts to other renewable energy subsidies and general concern about the direction of UK energy policy for those of us who support distributed, renewable energy," says Mark Henderson of Ecoliving.
Generous RHI payments still available
"The Feed-in Tariff was reduced in January and the RHI biomass tariff has been reduced in line with degression and reaching its deployment target. However, the important message is that the RHI tariffs for ground and air source heat pumps and solar thermal have not reduced and offer a generous incentive for installing these renewable heating systems. Self builders are eligible as well as those replacing an existing fossil fuel system.
While the government pledged to continue the RHI until 2021, that was before the Brexit vote and it remains to be seen how important it is to them to meet the 2020 EU carbon reduction targets which are shorter term that the government's own targets and were the reason why the RHI was introduced in the first place.
Benefit now while the RHI exists in current form
Carpe diem, a bird in the hand and all that! Yes it looks like this is a good time to replace that aging, inefficient oil or LPG boiler while the RHI exists in its current form and before the winter sets in."
Ah but, the price of oil is low at the moment! It is currently 30% higher than the low we saw in January and was 50% higher earlier this summer. It is and always has been volatile and it's probably wise to consider where the price is likely to be in 5, 10 and 15 years time. Electricity generation is becoming more and more renewable, there is more competition in the marketplace and the grid is significantly less carbon intensive and improving all the time.
Let RHI bridge the gap
The RHI is designed to fill the gap between the cost of installing a traditional fossil fuel boiler and a renewable heating system like a ground or air source heat pump or a biomass boiler. A solar thermal installation also attracts RHI and can be in addition to a heat pump or biomass boiler. In Sotland, homeowners can also benefit from an interest free loan for up to 75% of the installed cost of a renewable heating system. Full details here.
Ofgem administers the RHI and in the last 12 months in 68% of cases decisions on applications have been turned around within 30 working days. The application process is simple and made online or over the phone.