Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Launch of domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme confirmed with Tariffs announcement.

After a long wait the government has finally committed to long term support for renewable heat installations in homes, announcing the tariff levels for the domestic version of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme that will take over from the current voucher system when it ends in March 2014.

There had been doubts within the renewables sector that the much-vaunted scheme, claimed as a world first, might never happen. However the Department of Energy and Climate Change has confirmed that payments will be paid to qualifying householders and landlords for seven years.

DECC has set tariff levels at 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps; 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers; 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps and at least 19.2 p/kWh for solar thermal.

Earlier this year, the value of vouchers available under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme, which had its life extended until next March to cover delays in the launch of the RHI and to prevent a hiatus in renewable heat installations. The RHPP targets homes that are off the gas supply grid.

The non-domestic version of RHI has been running since November 2011 and is to be expanded, with details of changes and a tariff review due in the Autumn, according to DECC.

As with the revamped RHPP scheme, the RHI will be tied in to the government’s Green Deal, with RHI applicants having to complete a Green Deal assessment and meet minimum loft and cavity wall insulation requirements to qualify. Anyone who has installed qualifying renewable heat technology since July 2009 will be able to join the RHI scheme, although there will be measures to prevent double subsidies.

As with the Feed-in-tariffs to incentivise solar panels, the grants will be reduced over the ensuing years deliberately to incentivise and reward early investors – ‘the early bird will catch the worm’.  Those who have already secured their tariff will not have their tariff reduced due to cost control. DECC will announce further details on the cost control policy in Autumn 2013

The RHI scheme for householders will be run by Ofgem, with final details of the application process still to be published. In the meantime, pre-application enquiries can be made to the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

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