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Can I get the domestic RHI if I'm replacing a renewable heating system?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 September 2013 at 9:43 am

Q: I installed a stove type pellet boiler back in 2006 - which is great. But last year we extended our house and the boiler is probably a bit on the small side. Also as we get older we will find it easier to have a boiler with a bulk store. If I install a bigger output boiler now will I qualify for RHI even though I am not changing from fossil fuel?

A: The government did include a clause in the consultation for the domestic renewable (RHI) heat incentive saying that it would only be available to people currently using a fossil fuel heating system. However, that clause did not make it through to the final policy, and you are entitled to claim the RHI if you are replacing another renewable system.

I think there was a concern about gaming the system: that people who had installed prior to the 15 July 2009 deadline and are not eligible for the RHI might rip out perfectly good systems and replace them just to get the heat incentive payments.

However, as a boiler replacement scheme, the RHI aims to put the cost of installing a renewable heat system on a level playing field with more traditional boilers. It is not an incentive that provides a return in the way that the feed-in tariff does. So it won't be worth people ripping out old systems just to get the incentive payments!

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