Renewable Heat Incentive
So what is the Domestic RHI all about?
The Government wants to promote renewable sources of energy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet targets for reducing the effects of climate change. The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was introduced in April 2014 to encourage all of us to consider using renewable fuels to heat our hot water and homes.
The Domestic RHI is available to households both on and off the gas grid and there are four types of heating system that are eligible – including Grant air source heat pumps, solar thermal systems and biomass boilers. People who join the Domestic RHI scheme and adhere to its rules will receive quarterly payments for seven years.
You apply via the Ofgem website but to complete the application form you will firstly need to complete a few steps.
In order to apply for the RHI, you must have a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate for your renewable product’s installation and a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property. For the MCS certificate, both the product being installed and the engineer completing the installation must be MCS Certified and Accredited. The chosen product must also meet the relevant EN standards so please refer to the Product Eligibility List for more information. Full details regarding the preliminary requirements and further information regarding the Domestic RHI Scheme can be found in Ofgem’s Essential Guide for Applicants – please click here.
If you are successful in your application you will receive quarterly payments over seven years as long as you adhere to the scheme rules during this time.
The payments are aimed at bridging the gap between the costs of installing and operating a renewable system over a fossil fuel system. The payments are calculated on the amount of energy required over a 20 year period but paid over a 7 year period – so the scheme is very attractive.
Payments are made at a set rate per kilowatt hour of renewable heat generated. The tariff rates are reviewed quarterly but once you join the scheme you will remain on the same tariff rate for the seven year payment lifetime.
Most people will be paid based on their property’s estimated annual heat use. For biomass boiler systems for example, this is calculated from the EPC.
For an approximate indication of the potential RHI payment you could receive, you can use the online Domestic RHI calculator.
Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive were introduced in the Spring of 2016 (please click here for details) with further changes proposed for Spring 2017 (please read OFGEM’s Factsheet for more information).
MCS is an independent scheme for the certification of microgeneration products and installers. It is designed to assess these products and installers against robust criteria, which provides greater protection for consumers when fitting renewable technologies to their property.
Solar Thermal Water Heating systems can also qualify for the RHI if they are certified under the Solar Keymark Scheme and installed by an MCS Approved installer. Solar Keymark is the quality label for solar thermal products in Europe. By obtaining Solar Keymark, the manufacturer is clearly demonstrating the consistent factory made quality of the product. Comparable to ISO9001, the Keymark certifies compliance of a product with the relevant European standards and requires independent tests by an accredited bodies and the existence of a quality management system.
For a company to become MCS Accredited, they must comply with the Scheme’s standards which includes being a member of a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider. In October 2015, new legislation was introduced to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution ensuring that suitable options are made available in consumer disputes, with traders required to inform consumers whether they are willing to use ADR – this is when a certified ADR provider is needed. RECC (www.recc.org.uk) is a certified ADR provider, aiming to guarantee a high quality experience for consumers wishing to buy small-scale renewable heating systems for their homes.
Grant Engineering (UK) Ltd is a member of RECC (Membership No. 00070263). In the unlikely event of a dispute arising around the installation of a small-scale renewable energy system that cannot be resolved through Grant Engineering (UK) Ltd, disputes can be referred to RECC for mediation. Please click here for more information.
Matters relating to the MCS Installer Standards can be referred to Grant Engineering (UK) Ltd’s MCS Certification Body. Their contact details are as follows: NAPIT, 4th Floor, Mill 3, Pleasley Vale Business Park, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG19 8RL (t: 0345 543 0330 f: 0345 543 0332).