Skip to main content
Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen Blog

Renewable Heat Incentive: join the campaign for equal treatment for existing generators

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 March 2010 at 10:19 am

More and more people are calling for the renewable heat incentive (also known as the Clean Energy Cashback) to treat existing microgenerators equally. At RegenSW's consultation conference in Bristol earlier this month property developers and installers were flagging it up as important for the scheme's success. We also know that lots of people who've already installed solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass boilers are not happy with the proposals.

While we don't have the capacity at the moment to launch a campaign, we are very happy to co-ordinate and support anyone who does. There are lots of lessons to learn from Paul Truelove's excellent campaign currently running on the feed-in tariff, with a petition on the No. 10 website, and an early day motion calling for an equal deal for existing microgenerators.

Last week YouGen user MonicaB made the following passionate argument for why it's important for the domestic market:

1. Those with renewable systems already are likely to be those keenest on renewable heating and therefore its best advocates, so to alienate them is bad news for the scheme. To recruit them by paying them the same as new installations would at a stroke recruit an effective group to advertise the scheme, able to show the payments were a reality. They also understand issues like the kind of lifestyle changes often necessary to use the system optimally; they often promote renewable heating by showing people round their installation; and they are likely to be knowledgeable on measures to cut energy consumption such as increased insulation.

2. Those with installations already in place were pioneers for an infant industry often suffering greater upheaval, and higher costs. Hence they were in reality guinea pigs for the industry (and hence for the government,) and have brought the renewables industry to its present position.

3. If the proposals are going to make any impact, there will need to be a major expansion in retro-fitting renewable heating to domestic property. There is still a huge learning curve here, so those who have already retro-fitted systems need to be on board, feeding back information to their installers on how their systems are working so that best practice can be easily disseminated.

4.The scheme excludes self-installers. I feel this is a mistake as self-installers are usually careful to ensure value for money, so it would be a good reality check for the rest of the renewable heating market. Some means of validating the standard of their installations should be found so that they can join the scheme.

5. The scheme will only make payments for new or replacement systems, but not repair, conversion or refurbishment. How are these often subtle differences going to be decided in practice? - this will be costly to administer and would be unnecessary if all owners were entitled to the scheme.

6. We have evidence that having a renewable heating system actually lowers the market value of a house. Applying the RHI to already existing schemes will tend to reverse this, but without this we lose out yet again.

7. There have been several comments that it makes financial sense to rip out any existing schemes, then re-install them again. I am sure this will happen even though it makes no sense in terms of use of resources or carbon footprint. It will be very bad publicity for the scheme (headlines such as "householder had to rip out installation and replace it with the same") and that means bad publicity for renewable heating in general.

If you want to join in the fight for equal treatment, then please leave a comment here or email me. The first step is to respond to  the Renewable Heat Incentive consultation document. If you do not want to do that yourself, do let us have your comments to include in our response.

By

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

Like this blog? Keep up to date with our free monthly newsletter

Comments

1 comments - read them below or add one

Monica B

Monica BComment left on: 10 April 2010 at 8:10 pm

The Renewable Heat Incentive - do you know about it? I can't believe how few people have checked out the details of  this consultation, even people who will be affected by it's proposals. It wasn't possible to change the Feed-in tariffs in advance, and now micro-generators have an uphill slog trying to convince Government how unfair the regulations are. We have a chance, with a General Election in progress to influence future policy. Let's not waste the chance, so please, please, check the proposals out, think how they will affect you, and respond. - before 26th April! Thanks

Monica Bolton

report abuse

Leave a comment

You must log in to make a comment. If you haven't already registered, please sign up as a company or an individual, then come back and have your say.