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Government launches RHI 

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been launched today, offering homeowners payments to offset the cost of installing low carbon systems.

The launch of the scheme was announced last night by the Minister, Greg Barker, on Twitter, and applications have been open since 8am today.

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat, offering homeowners payments to offset the cost of installing low carbon systems in their properties.

The scheme is open to everyone – home owners, social and private landlords, and people who build their own homes. It is available to households both on and off the gas grid.

Minister for Energy Greg Barker said: This is the first scheme of its kind in the world – showing yet again that the UK is leading the way in the clean energy sector.”


The technologies currently covered by the scheme are:

  • Biomass heating systems, which burn fuel such as wood pellets, chips or logs to provide central heating and hot water in a home. Biomass-only boilers are designed to provide heating using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water. Pellet stoves with integrated boilers are designed to burn only wood pellets and can heat the room they are in directly, as well as provide heat to the rest of the home using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water.
  • Ground or water source heat pumps, which extract heat from the ground or water. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water in a home.
  • Air to water heat pumps, which absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water in a home.
  • Solar thermal panels, which collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. The two types of panels that are eligible are evacuated tube panels and liquid-filled flat plate panels.

Only one space heating system is allowed per property but homeowners can apply for solar thermal for hot water and a space heating system.

The guaranteed payments are made quarterly over seven years for households in England, Wales and Scotland. (Northern Ireland has its own RHI scheme). The scheme is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat sources and renewable heat alternatives.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has backed the scheme, and says its introduction could make 2014 a breakthrough year for renewable heating. REA head of on-site renewables Mike Landy said: “Domestic RHI is set to be one of the highlights of the Government’s green agenda in 2014. It will mean that renewable home heating is not just environmentally sensible, but also financially attractive.”

Sustainable Energy Association chief executive Dave Sowden said: “The industry is delighted the domestic RHI has finally launched and that the journey to cleaner home heating can now begin. Installing low carbon heating technologies into energy efficient homes is one of the most important ways of securing cheap, affordable, clean energy, and this world-first scheme is a very important start.”

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