Everything You Need To Know About The Renewable Heat Incentive

With the renewable heat incentive for renewable heating technology, find out if you're eligible for seven years of quarterly cash payments.

Keyword(s): renewable heat incentive

In Britain, our national goal is to generate a minimum of 12 per cent of our heating from renewable resources by next year (2020). The UK government wants to reward homeowners for using renewable heating systems instead of fossil fuel boilers.


If you use renewable heating, you can enrol in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI scheme directs quarterly cash payments to those who get involved early.


How does the RHI work, and how much could you earn each quarter? Keep reading to learn more.


The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Subsidy Basics

The Domestic RHI subsidy began back in 2014 intending to offer financial cover to homeowners who install renewable heating systems. It's available in England, Scotland, and Wales with the aim of steering households currently off the gas network away from heating sources like oil and coal.


At its core, the scheme works like this: you install a boiler heating system that uses biomass or another renewable source, and the UK government RHI scheme will pay you in cash quarterly over seven years.


To see how much you can earn, use the official RHI payment calculator.


The Domestic RHI services are no longer available in Northern Ireland. If you live in Northern Ireland are interested in the scheme, visit the Northern Ireland Energywise website for more information about renewables and energy saving grants.


Who May Apply for the RHI?

You may apply for the RHI if you:

Occupy a single domestic dwelling, or you are;

An owner-occupier

Self-builder

Private landlord

Additionally, you can only use the scheme for installing a new boiler in an existing building or a self-build project. Contractors or developers cannot use it for building new properties, although the Non-Domestic RHI might be suitable for these applications.


To receive funding, you must meet the eligibility criteria and apply for support within a year of installation.


What Technologies Does the RHI Include?

The RHI focuses heavily on biomass boilers and stoves. The full list of supported technology includes:

Air source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps

Biomass boilers

Biomass pellet stoves (including integrated boilers)

Solar thermal panels (for heating water)

Additionally, you must find your system on the scheme's Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Product Eligibility List. When you source biomass fuel, you must choose a supplier noted on the Biomass Suppliers List. The record features sustainable suppliers vetted by the government. They must be on the list when you purchase the fuel, but you aren't penalised if they are removed from the list after the transaction takes place.


You cannot claim RHI support for:

Log stoves

Hybrid PVT

Air to air heat pumps

Pellet stoves without back boilers

Some systems may or may not qualify for the subsidy. Some water source heat pumps (under the ground source heat pump category) and certain cookers and high-temperature heat pumps can also be eligible. You can find them on the product eligibility list noted above.


What Do You Need to Apply?

All applications are available on the Ofgem website.


To submit your application, you need:

Your Energy Performance Certificate number

Your MCS installation certificate number

Bank details (for the quarterly payments)

If you cannot apply via the website, you may phone the Domestic RHI Applicant Support Centre during regular business hours. They can be contacted on 0300 003 0744.


If you apply online, Ofgem's IT system can usually approve the application automatically. In some cases, a member of staff may need to review the application and approve it manually. Should this occur, Ofgem staff will be in touch within five working days, and you have 28 days to respond and provide the information with their request.


Even if Ofgem must review your request, your payments will be backdated from the date of your application.


To check on your request or application, you can log in to your MyRHI account.


How Much Can You Get?

Ofgem determines payments according to the current tariff rates and the amount of renewable heat generated by your household.


The tariffs change quarterly, and you can see the current and future tariffs until the end of 2019 on the Ofgem site.


Generally, you earn the most per kilowatt from ground source heat pumps and solar thermal heating. Biomass boilers and stoves make just shy of seven pence per kilowatt-hour.


Is the RHI Still Worth It in 2019-2020?

The maximum payments for heap pumps are £11,500 for an air source heat pump and £34,500 for a ground source heat pump.


RHI and Brexit

Would Brexit of any type impact the RHI subsidy for new and existing recipients? This is an important question for anyone who might rely on the subsidies to afford the cost of the new heat pumps.


Beyond the new legislation passed in early 2019, there does not seem to be a direct impact on the RHI by any type of Brexit.


However, it is essential to follow the subsidy carefully, if you do apply. Issues in Northern Ireland and personal guarantees made by leadership in Stormont have caused some tumult concerning the RHI across the Irish Sea.


Could the Domestic RHI Help You Switch to Renewables?

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) program aims to help homeowners and self-builders avoid fossil fuels and enable the UK to meet its emissions targets.


Although the subsidies are no longer as generous as they once were, they are still available to qualifying participants who install biomass, air and ground source heat pumps, and solar thermal projects.


Are you interested in renewables and ready to learn more about the RHI? Get in touch, and an energy consultant will answer your questions.

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