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Domestic RHI: how do we know which products are eligible?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 January 2014 at 9:41 am

Q: We received an email yesterday from MCS which had the following paragraph:

RHI Products Reminder: The MCS Helpdesk has been receiving an increasing number of phone calls regarding what products will be eligible for the RHI and whether all MCS products do qualify.  Please be aware that not all MCS certified products will be eligible for the domestic RHI and that additional criteria will be applied. A full list of RHI eligible products will be released prior to the launch of the RHI.  At this time we are unsure where this list will be published.

This is very concerning - as installers and customers could be undertaking installations in the belief that the product they are installing is going to get them the domestic RHI and then a list will suddenly appear - no doubt just days before the domestic RHI comes on stream - and ooops! they discover that the product they have installed is not eligible.

A: You're right, this is worrying. And it's something we've received a lot of enquiries about too. The confusion mainly seems to be around log burning 'boiler stoves'. A number of these are eligible for the renewable heat premium payments scheme and have MCS accreditation, but don't meet the eligibility criteria that were announced for the domestic RHI in July 2013 (see comments below this blog for more detail).

The criteria for biomass stoves to be eligible for the domestic RHI is that they must be fuelled by wood pellet and must have a back boiler. If installers and homeowners meet that criteria they should be safe. However, there is always going to be an element of risk involved in installing before the final regulations have passed through Parliament and all the details are finalised. 

My guess is that there has already been some mis-selling, and it's not clear where the liability lies for mistakes of this types. There didn't appear to be any comeback for people who installed solar PV pre 16 July 2009 having been told there was going to be a feed-in tariff, when they found out that they would get the lowest possible rate. Financially it's a big whoops to find yourself with an ineligible heat technology! My advice is to do thorough research and, if in doubt, wait.

More information about the RHI on YouGen

The YouGen guide to the renewable heat incentive

From the blog

Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

When can I apply to the domestic RHI?

I've got RHPP - is it worth applying for RHI?

Photo: XXLPhoto


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

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3 comments - read them below or add one

Foxdenton Frank

Foxdenton FrankComment left on: 2 February 2014 at 1:53 pm

I had a ground source heat pump installed back in 2011 by an macs installer who gave me the certificate and told me I could claim £1500.00 a year back on the scheme. Still not got a penny back

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Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 31 January 2014 at 2:53 pm

Glad someone else has finally picked up on this - I was beginning to think that I must have misinterpreted what I read on the MCS website!  See my comment 21st January (Blog topic: Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching).

I would certainly not be looking to spend any cash yet until all the proverbial i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. I feel sorry for installers – shades of the solar PV fiasco all over again.

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albaComment left on: 30 January 2014 at 1:28 pm

I don't think you can say there has been mis-selling rather there has been complete mismanagement and lack of communication between decc and mcs.  

I think the MCS/Green deal/RHPP/RHI etc etc system has now become so overly complicated that if  the domestic RHI does come into being its going to be a complete shambles.  I would think that  'spring 2014" launch is going to be difficult to achieve judging by the latest lack of info.

The governement should give us all a break and admit that they don't have the money for this or the ability to run it and provide a much more simplified system.

Step one would be scrap MCS.  As what is the point of it if accredited products are then not eligible for government schemes.  

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