Changes to eligibility for domestic renewable heat incentive announced
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 November 2014 at 9:54 am
Some welcome changes to eligibility for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) were announced this month by the Department of Energy & Climate Change. Subject to parliamentary process and approval of draft regulations they should come into force in spring 2015. Also coming in spring is the new biomass sustainability regulations, which must be complied with from autumn 2015 if you wish to continue receiving RHI payments.
Cooker stoves will become eligible as long as the product and installation meet all the other scheme requirements. By cooker stoves, DECC means biomass stoves with a back boiler that are predominantly designed for space and hot water cooking. Where the heat generated for cooking is incidental to, and cannot be controlled separately from, heat generated for heating and hot water. This does not include traditional range cookers which are designed for cooking. People who have a cooker stove that was installed prior to the new regulations (but after 15 July 2009) will have until 31 July 2015 (or 12 months after installation) to apply for the RHI.
High temperature heat pumps
High temperature heat pumps, which can operate at temperatures as high as 80c, will be eligible as long as they meet all scheme requirements including the minimum efficiency levels of a seasonal performance factor of 2.5. There will not be a provision for 'legacy' installations to apply for RHI for high temperature heat pumps. If you have one that is currently not eligible, you will be able to apply up until 12 months after commissioning date of the system.
The microgeneration certification scheme will shortly be publishing updated installation standards for heat pumps and solar thermal and an updated heat emitter guide. The regulations will be updated to refer to these new standards. There will be a transition period for the MCS standards and during that period installations can be to either the old or the new. If it is to the new, you will not be able to apply for RHI until the changes to the regulations come into force (in spring 2015). You will have 12 months from commissioning to apply.
Properties with more than one building
There has been some confusion over heating systems that provide heat to more than one building and the RHI. Changes to the regulations intend to clarify that they are eligible. However, RHI payments will continue to be based on the heat demand for the main dwelling based on an energy performance certificate (EPC), as heat going to ancilliary buildings is not eligible for RHI payments.
- A dwelling plus a swimming pool in an annex
- A dwelling plus garage, shed or outbuilding
- A dwelling plus commercially used building such as an office, or stables
In the case of the latter, the system is also eligible for non-domestic RHI, which may be a better option.
Heating systems which provide for multiple dwellings is eligible for the non-domestic scheme.
Registered social landlords
From spring 2015 registered social landlords will no longer need to have a green deal assessment to apply to the domestic RHI. They will need to have an EPC that is less than two years old.
Also coming in spring 2015 are the biomass sustainability RHI regulations which will require anyone claiming RHI to meet the sustainability requirements from autumn 2015. This means you will have to buy your biomass fuel from a trader registered on the biomass suppliers list or register as a self-supplier. On your annual declaration to Ofgem you will need to confirm that you are complying with this rule.
More information on YouGen
Need help with any Jargon?By Cathy Debenham
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