Your household could receive quarterly payments for seven years if you have renewable energy technology sources installed. What is the RHI?
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government scheme encouraging households to use renewable energy technologies to heat their homes. Households are paid quarterly dividends for the volume of renewable energy their home produces from a variety of sources, including solar thermal panels, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps or biomass systems. Ofgem (Office of Gas and Energy Markets) oversee all payments and you will need to contact Ofgem to join the RHI scheme.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is a naturally occurring energy source that renews and sustains itself. Examples of renewable energy sources are the sun, wind, water, biomass (energy derived from organic matter), geothermal energy (harnessing the heat from the earth) and tidal energy (using the power of rising and falling tides).
Solar thermal panels
Solar thermal panels are fitted to your roof as a series of pipes (like a radiator) that heat up water kept in a hot water tank. Interestingly these panels do not depend on a consistent flow of sunshine to work. In fact, they are quite suited to the temperamental and cloudy British weather. Instead, focus on the pitch and angle of your roof. Those of you with a south facing roof, rejoice! If the pitch of your roof isn’t ideal, don’t give up. Installers have nifty brackets and ways of giving you the best chance possible to partake in the sun’s energy.
Biomass heating systems use wood to heat your room or house. The best place to start is with your fuel: storage, supply and type. Wood pellet burning biomass boilers are considered most efficient. It’s essential to keep your wood source dry and easily accessible when you need to refill your hopper. It’s also worth checking biomass sources in your local area, as fuel prices increase the further the fuel has to travel to be delivered.
Ground source heat pump
A ground source heat pump is a circuit of pipes buried in your garden transforming low temperature heat absorbed from the ground into liquid. A compressor heats the liquid and sends it on to heat your home and returns to the ground to help extract more heat. Ground source heat pumps heat your home as well as your hot water. They don’t need much maintenance once installed and while they use electricity to run, their energy yield is far greater than the energy they consume.
Air source heat pumps
Similar to its ground source heat pump relative, air source heat pumps soak up heat from the air and transfer the heat to water. They radiate heat at a lower temperature heat for longer periods, making them an ideal heating source for underfloor heaters. It’s worth investigating whether you can upgrade your insulation when you install an air source heat pump.
Product eligibility list
To qualify for RHI you will need to produce your MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certificate confirming your product and installation is to standard. If you have a biomass heating system you will also need a RHI emission certificate.
In order to qualify for RHI you will need the relevant certification for your installed renewable energy and you will need to own or occupy the household.
Ongoing obligations and requirements
There are a number of reasonable obligations you will need to meet to continue to qualify for RHI. These include maintenance, metering and transparency.
What do other people say about the scheme?
The biggest stumbling block to the scheme are installation costs, however there is no doubt that a greater percentage of the population is turning to renewable energy sources to heat their homes.