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Can I get RHI for my biomass boiler if it's not recommended by the green deal?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2013 at 12:20 pm

Q: I have just taken a call from a lady who is considering installing a biomass boiler to replace her current LPG boiler.  A couple of green deal assessors have told her that she will only be eligible for domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) if her green deal assessment report recommends a biomass boiler for her property. She is reluctant to spend £150 on a green deal assessment if it then does not recommend a biomass boiler. Have you heard of this additional criteria for eligibility? Is this true?

The lady is rather worried about whether she can trust the green deal assessors - or are they likely to just recommend something that is installed by the company they work for. 

A: There are a couple of things that are mandatory for eligibility to the RHI. One is that you have a green deal assessment. The other is that if the green deal assessment report recommends loft and/or cavity wall insulation you must have them done, and get an updated energy performance certificate (EPC - this underpins the green deal assessment) to prove it has been done.

It is up to you what order you do things in. Logically, it makes sense to get the assessment first, as it may recommend some improvements you haven't thought of, and the more you improve the energy efficiency of your home, the less heating you need, and so you can buy a smaller boiler. But it is completely up to the home owner what order they do things in. 

You also ask whether people can trust the advice given by a green deal advisor (GDA), and whether they are likely to recommend something installed by the company they work for. The easiest way to be confident about this is to choose an independent advisor, rather than one that is tied to a provider. 

However, all advisors must give impartial advice. The recommended measures are generated by the software they use - although they do have some room for manoeuvre over which ones they include on the report.

Advisors are also allowed to sell. However, they must complete the assessment first, and tell you that they are now 'changing hats' from advisor to salesperson before they do so. They must let you know before the assessment starts that it is their intention to do both, and you can decline to be sold to in this way. 

Below is a quote from the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirming the position outlined above:

"Because renewable heating systems work best in a well-insulated home, the domestic renewable heat incentive works alongside the green deal. Before applying, you must first have a green deal assessment carried out for your property*. If the resulting green deal advice report (GDAR) recommends loft and cavity wall insulation they must be installed before you can claim RHI. There may be certain circumstances that prevent their installation. This will be accepted provided you include valid evidence to support this as part of your RHI application.  The recommendation of the renewable heating system in the GDAR is not a requirement of the RHI."

*The only people exempt from having to carry out a green deal assessment are those that built their own homes incorporating an eligible heating system. This is because these houses would have been built to recent building regulation standards.

More information on YouGen

The YouGen guide to the green deal

The YouGen guide to the renewble heat incentive

How to choose a green deal advisor

Domestic RHI: your questions answered

Picture: Hugovk


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1 comments - read them below or add one


3coPeteComment left on: 19 December 2013 at 2:59 pm

As an independant GDA I am slightly surprised to see that people are so suspicious about the advice they receive, I for one would always check out any advice later.  However, I can see how suspicions may have been aroused in this instance as the advice was clearly wrong.  

I like to go through the measures with the customer in slow time explaining the relative merits of each, that way it is their choice.

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