Renewable Heat Premium Payment rates confirmed - but are they enough to kickstart renewable heat?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 July 2011 at 11:22 am
Capital grants to help with the cost of installing renewable heat technologies will be available from 1 August.
Any householder in England, Scotland or Wales can apply for the £300 renewable heat premium payment for solar thermal panels.
There are conditions attached to receiving the renewable heat premium payments. You must have basic energy efficiency measures in place and the product and installer must both be MCS certified.
In addition, the government is using the premium payments scheme to improve its knowledge of how renewable heat works in practice, in real homes. So once the equipment is installed, you will be asked to fill in two customer surveys, and may be chosen at random to have extra meters attached (free of charge) so performance can be measured.
There is £15m of support available for up to 25,000 renewable heat installations, and the scheme will be reviewed once £10m has been reached. It's available on a first come, first served basis between 1 August 2011 and 31 March 2012 (unless the money runs out before then). The Energy Saving Trust is handling applications.
It's great news to hear that there's going to be research and monitoring into how people use renewable heat, and how well it works in practice. I thoroughly applaud that aspect of the scheme.
However, the government still hasn't announced what rates will be available for the domestic renewable heat incentive, and what the eligibility criteria are. Without this information, investment in renewable heat is still prohibitively expensive for most people.
In my conversations with installers about the subject, most have dismissed the renewable heat payments as too small to make any difference. A change in the price of oil is much more likely to get their phones ringing.
I realise that this is a difficult chicken and egg situation. Without the findings of their research, the eventual Renewable Heat Incentive probably won't be as effective in incentivising uptake of solar thermal, biomass boilers and heat pumps. But unless people know the long term financial implications of investment, will these relatively small grants be enough to persuade them to take an expensive gamble?
Photo by JMacPherson
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