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Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 July 2014 at 9:01 am

You’ve been told that the online application for the renewable heat incentive is straightforward process, and you should expect an instant decision on the amount of money you will receive. 

But with around 62 per cent of applications currently being referred to so-called manual review - or simply 'review' as Ofgem now wishes it to be known - is something going awry?

Manual review, or review, means your application cannot be processed automatically by the machines – it’s going to take a person to look through your paperwork.

The message from Ofgem for those going to review is: don’t panic. Whilst it will hold up your application and will probably require you hunting down yet more paperwork, it doesn’t mean your application is not going to be successful.

So what are the main reasons for going to review – and how can you avoid it?


Self-builders are exempt from the need to have a green deal advice report before applying for domestic RHI. 

In order to prove your exemption though, Ofgem will still need to satisfy themselves that a) the house is a genuine self-build (ie that the first owner of the house either built it themselves, or funded the build); b) that the house was first occupied AFTER the renewable heating system was commissioned and c) that the house has always been owned by an individual rather than a company.

As there is currently no way to prove this through the online application (although Ofgem are working on it), all self-build applicants are referred to review. 

The evidence Ofgem requires will vary depending on whether the house was built but yourself, outsourced to a builder, or bought from an individual house builder. The onus will be on your to prove your self build status and in most instances Ofgem say they will accept an official invoice for a substantial amount of the build, as long as it bears your name and a VAT number.

If the invoice is not in your name, they will need to prove that the name on the invoice is someone either commissioned by you (for example a RIBA certificate in your architect’s name, which has your name as the employer) or the person who owned the house before you(for example the historic title deeds to check previous ownership).

Other possible proofs you could use are proof of a self-build mortgage or loan; proof of a DIY house-builders’ VAT exemption or proof of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) exemption. 

You want to apply using a new SPF

The seasonal performance factor (SPF) of your heat pump defines the efficiency of your system. For the purposes of your application, the SPF for legacy applicants – that is installations made prior to April 9, 2014 – is deemed to be the lowest 2.5 unless you request otherwise. If you do this, Ofgem need to verify that the new SPF has been calculated using the Microgeneration Certification Scheme's heat emitter guide. To do this, you will need to get your installer to reassess your system. You may like to point them in the direction of this template which Ofgem created to help with the reassessment process. The template, or your installer's own version of it, then has to be emailed to (it’s a generic email address but don’t worry – they do get read!) along with your application number. You can’t amend your SPF after submitting your application so make sure you decide what you’d like to to before applying. This blog might help you decide

You are applying for more than one product 

If your system is made up of more than one MCS-certified product then Ofgem wants you to prove that these products make up just one heating system and that they all were commissioned at the same time. Therefore your application will go to manual review so that all the certificates can be looked at. Remember, if one of your products is solar thermal, you need to complete a separate application. Solar PV does not need to be declared in your RHI application.

Grant funding

If you received a grant from public funds to help with your installation, then this will need to be deducted from your payments. In order to process your application, Ofgem needs to satisfy themselves that the funding is from a public source, that it was used to buy or install your system and that it didn’t cover the entire cost of installation (in which case you would not qualify for RHI at all). When you apply, the renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) database will be automatically checked but if your funding came from another source, you will have to provide the grant offer letter as proof.

Product eligibility – to be determined

This one is the rub. It may be that you are attempting to apply for the renewable heat incentive with a product that is not marked as eligible on Ofgem’s product eligibility list (PEL). In this case, you are not eligible. If you believe that the product is up to the required standards, and it’s just a case of the manufacturer dragging their heels about getting the necessary proof to Ofgem, then it’s time to give them a nudge. Ofgem is working on a template that you will be able to download yourself before asking your installer to input the missing information but until then, the installer will need to fill in the PEL template on your behalf. When this happens, your installer may then end up having to contact the manufacturers and encourage them to get their products listed as eligible. It is only once this happens that your application can be processed. 

Good luck! 

More information 

YouGen guide to renewable heat incentive

Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

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

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2 comments - read them below or add one

Tasha Kosviner

Tasha KosvinerComment left on: 17 July 2014 at 9:45 am

I guess if you can't lay your hands on the appropriate paperwork that may be a way around things Linn - albeit one with a cost attached! Ofgem say they are working on a way of logging your self-build paperwork online so in due course it is hoped that self builds won't automatically go for review.... 

Interestingly, since writing this blog, I have put in my own application for RHI for my heat pump - and it's gone to review! As far as I can tell though it's for none of the above reasons!! Very frustrating - I'll write about it once I know more.

Anyone else found themselves in review for reasons other than those state above?? 

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Linn Rafferty

Linn Rafferty from JTec Energy PerformanceComment left on: 16 July 2014 at 3:49 pm

hi Tasha

what a useful blog. Regarding the first point, about self builders not requiring a GDAR, it seems that this means every self build application is being sent for manual review.  In which case, do you think it might worth the applicant getting a GDAR anyway, so they are not claiming exemption?


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