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Details of the domestic renewable heat incentive finally announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 10:25 am

After several delays, the details of the renewable heat incentive, originally announced in July 2010 have finally been announced. Its aim is to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technologies to cut carbon, help meet the renewables targets and to save money on energy bills.

Who can apply for domestic renewable heat incentive?

  • homeowners (including second homes),
  • private landlords
  • social landlords,
  • self-builders
  • legacy applicants, ie anyone who has installed a renewable heat technology since 15 July 2009 as long as they meet the scheme eligibility criteria and
  • third party owners of heating systems.

New build housing (other than self-build) is excluded.

RHI tariff rates

Renewable Heat Incentive - domestic tariff levels
Air source heat pumps (air to water) 7.3p/kWh
Biomass only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with back boilers 12.2p/kWh
Ground source heat pump 18.8/kWh
Solar thermal (flat plate and evacuated tube) 19.2-21.7p/kWh*
Extra payments will be on offer if you install a metering and monitoring package. These are £230/year for heat pumps, £200/year for biomass boilers.

Who will benefit most?

The scheme is targeted at people living off the mains gas grid. This means that the tariff rates are calculated based on the costs of off-gas heating, which tend to be significantly more expensive than heating with mains gas. Those who currently use gas can change to renewable technologies and claim the renewable heat incentive, but they will not get such a good rate of return as those off-gas. It may not lead to a reduction in carbon emissions either.

How will the RHI payments work?

Payments will be made quarterly for seven years by Ofgem. The tariff rates have been set at a level that reflects the expected cost of renewable heat generation over 20 years for those off the mains gas network.

In most cases, payments will be made based on the estimated (deemed) heat demand of the property. Exceptions include those who retain a back up heating system, or applications for second homes, both of which must install metering systems. Payments will be based on meter readings of heat generated.

Those eligible for deeming can opt for a metering and monitoring package and receive additional payments to cover the costs of this (see table above). 

What do I have to do to claim the RHI

You must:

  • Complete a Green Deal Assessment before submitting your application. 
  • Ensure you have a minimum loft (250mm) and cavity wall insulation, where appropriate.
  • Use an MCS certified (or certified by an equivalent scheme) installer and product. The installer must also be a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC), which is backed by the Trading Standards Institute.
  • Biomass installations must also meet air quality and fuel sustainability requirements.

Is there any help with upfront costs of installation?

You may be able to get help with the upfront costs of the renewable heating installation under the Green Deal. Money off vouchers are also available under the RHPP scheme. NB: Any money received upfront through Renewable Heat Premium Payments will be deducted from future RHI payments to avoid a double subsidy.

*The solar thermal tariff is capped to what is assessed to be the marginal cost of renewable energy. It will be at least 19.2p/kWh, but may be more. DECC will publish the final solar thermal tariff in the Autumn.

Click the link for a detailed Q & A on the renewable heat incentive. If you've got a question that isn't covered, please ask it in the comment section below, and we'll answer it and add it.


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

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15 comments - read them below or add one


MikelComment left on: 25 July 2013 at 10:16 am

Hi Cathy,


As you state above, the RHI deemed heat requirement for a building is to be taken from the EPC. I will have to have a new EPC from a Green Deal Assessment.

I have an old EPC dated 29th Oct 2010, which gives the energy use in kWh per square metre and would appear to include lighting energy use. However, the format of the EPC has since changed and I think a star system is now used.

Does the new EPC state the heating requirement in figures as before in kWh/sq m?

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 22 July 2013 at 8:27 am

Hi Harry The system isn't finalised yet, but it looks as though you are going to have to get a green deal advice report done. This is based on an EPC, but goes further, suggesting improvements you can make to the energy efficiency of your home. As I said below, the green deal advisor is allowed to base it on your old EPC, but may not be willing to do so.

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HarrytheWASPComment left on: 20 July 2013 at 2:27 pm

So can we send our EPC and MCS certificate with our application or do we have to have another survey done? The GDA could use the present certicate but we will have to still pay for him/her to come to our property. That seems to be bureaucratic red tape.Hopefully the powers that be will recognise last years EPC and save the GDA and myself 2 hours and the petrol for the surveyor to get here just to come up with an identical certificate.


Commonsense may prevail : )

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 16 July 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi Harry

Green deal advisors can use an existing EPC as the basis for a green deal assessment, but they tend to do their own because they are held accountable for the green deal assessment, and if the original EPC is faulty, it's them that will get the blame if the savings don't work out as expected.

I'll get back to you on the back up heating, when I've done more research, but I think that a room heater is ok, but if you keep a system boiler, then you'd have to meter the renewable heater you've installed.

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HarrytheWASPComment left on: 16 July 2013 at 9:27 am

It would make sense and save carbon if a property that already had an EPC wouldnt have to have another survey again. Whats the point of having a survey done for the Government if its not recognised by the Government a year later.


Also what is the perimeters of back up heating? Portable electric? Log fire? An independant boiler? Will all or any of these reduce the payment that is issued?

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 15 July 2013 at 11:57 am

HI Chas - you won't need a monitoring system for a legacy solar thermal system.

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chas melton

chas meltonComment left on: 15 July 2013 at 11:35 am

I have a Thermal Solar DHW system, which appears to meet the criteria for RHI payments (legacy system, installed within the date range specified; I also have the other requireements (loft insulation above minimum required; cavity wall insulation).

So... I have to get a Green Deal assessment.  Fair enough: I never had one before.


BUT... since I have a conventional gas CH system (A-rated boiler), for which the solar panel is back-up for DHW - providing most of my needs during summer months - DO I NEED A MONITORING SYSTEM IN ORDER TO CLAIM RHI PAYMENTS??

My MCS Installer Certificate has an estimated annual generation figure.  Would the RHI payment default to this value if I don't have a data-logger?

If I do install a datalogger (which I believe would be a plug-in to my existing controller (Resol Solar BS)), how is the recorded data to be transferred to the Authorities for verification of my RHI payment?

The economics should be simple to work out, given the answers to the above... Green Deal Survey ca. £100, plus (if reqd) cost of datalogging equipment (looks like about £250!!).

But, apart from general interest, I don't really want to spend money on data-logging unless I have to - it probably represents a year of RHI receipts to pay back.

I will be watching this thread weith interest.






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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 15 July 2013 at 10:34 am

Here are the rules about energy efficiency:

Before applying for RHI support, all applicants, including legacy applicants, will need to ensure that:

a. a green deal assessment (GDA) has been carried out to find out which energy efficiency measures are cost-effective for the property;

b. loft and cavity wall insulation have been installed where these measures are recommended by the GDA; and

c. where the GDA shows the required loft and cavity wall insulation is yet to be installed, an updated EPC (energy performance certificate) is obtained following installation, as proof of installation (or valid evidence is provided proving why installation was not feasible).

The only exception is for self-builders, whose properties will already be energy efficient since they are built to current building regulation standards. However, they will need an EPC in order for Ofgem to be able to calculate their payments.

In answer to some of your questions:

@Mark Bouton - you should come under self build

@LCB and others - The government is keen to encourage energy efficiency, and promote its green deal scheme. I guess it's hoping that by making a green deal assessment a compulsory criteria for everyone claiming the RHI, it will encourage people to take up other proposed energy efficiency measures which will reduce the head demand of the property.

@HarrytheWASP Yes, the home owner will have to pay. In the example you give, the lady would have to have the ASHP metered. There are benefits to this as well as costs. It means that you can keep a good check that it's working as expected, and pick up problems before you get a huge electricity bill.

@LRolfs On the pellet boiler, that's not a problem. It makes much more sence to use the solar thermal for hot water in summer and turn off the boiler - and I know from the RHI consultation that DECC is keen to encourage combinations like that.

@grant - as you can see above, it is for legacy applications too.

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grantComment left on: 15 July 2013 at 10:19 am

Surely the Green Deal assesment is for new installs rather than installs since 15 July 2009 (for Solar Thermal)?

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LRolfsComment left on: 14 July 2013 at 2:40 pm

Just to add to previous comments.  Why on earth must we have a Green Deal Assessment when we have just built an A rated eco house and do not require any finances to add anything else?  We have already received RHPP for the solar and pellet boiler and all we now want is the RHI for what we produce.

A further point which may cause the powers that be some confusion, is that we only need the pellet boiler in the winter.  I can see it causing problems when we don't submit any data for a number of months.

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HarrytheWASPComment left on: 13 July 2013 at 11:39 am

Im guessing that the backup heating should be a renewable and not fossil fuel based. I inspected a house last month where the owner had an airsource heat pump with a conventional gas boiler as a back up. That lady would have to be metered to find out how much energy the ashp was making. So its not time to start bricking up fireplaces as most people with heat pumps would have a back up incase of power cuts ( mines a log burner)


It does seem mental to have another survey done when my house received its "D" rating only 12 months ago. I guess the home owner has to finance the Green deal inspection cost.

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LCBComment left on: 13 July 2013 at 9:00 am

I am totally confused!  We have both PV and Solar Thermal installed.  We are already receiving payment for the PV but are waiting to hear about payments for Solar Thermal, which makes us, presumably, legacy applicants.  Why do we need a Green Deal Assessment for something already installed?  We are not requesting any money for installation.

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Mark Boulton

Mark Boulton Comment left on: 12 July 2013 at 11:09 pm

At last we are getting some information but in my case the procedure doesn't seem to make much sense . . . 

I have almost completed a new. Hill to near passive house standards with a full passive slab, 300mm hemcrete walls and well over the required insulation in the roof.  The house also has  90% LED lighting with the remainder CF or strip lights (garage).  There is no gas available nor any oil on site.

Solar PV has been installed for two years and has generated more than 18,000 kW hrs; 80 ETs heat the thermal slab and provide hot water with an off peak boost from a 6kW immersion on days when solar collection is very low.  There is also a fair amount of solar gain resulting from generous windows (triple glazed) on the S side and very few on the N.  The house also has an innovative bespoke energy management system which optimises the use of the solar installations.

In the light of the above why on earth do I need a Green Deal Assessment as I do not need any funding for installing renewables.

I will talk to SolarSense in Bristol (who I would very strongly recommend for both PV and solar thermal installations) but would value your views on nor the new FIT system works for self build economises of which there are an increasing number.

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GlenfenderComment left on: 12 July 2013 at 12:10 pm

This is good news - but still questions needing answers - does the fuel sustainability requirement effectively rule out log boilers? What does 'self build' entail - does it include if you as an individual organise and arrange the building of your new home - rather than a developer building something and flogging it on? It would be great to have some examples of what a typical 3/4 bed, band D energy rated home might expect to get in the way of annual payments if they installed a biomass boiler or a gshp - as then people could get an idea of what it might mean to them. I wonder when the starting date will be????

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 12 July 2013 at 11:41 am

Hi Glendfender

I'll be digging into the detail and posting it as I work it out. I'll try my best to get the answers to your questions. It would be a serious own goal if the sustainablity requirement meant those with access to their own supply of logs couldn't use them! I can answer the starting date questions now. It's officially spring 2014, and I've been told that is real spring, not civil service spring, so hopefully the end of March. I think your definition of self-build is right, but am just about to start reading the detail and will confirm.

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