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How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 27 July 2015 at 11:55 am

There is no denying it: upgrading your home with eco-technologies costs. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. There are a variety of government-led subsidies for those upgrading homes with green technology, and one couple in Abertridwr, South Wales, say they are £5000 better off a year as a result. Phill and Jane Sylvester are taking advantage of both the Feed-In Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

 The Feed-In Tariff is a subsidy for those using renewable technologies, in their home, that produce electricity. These include solar panels, wind turbines and micro hydro systems. Once a system has been installed by a certified company, and you have applied for the tariff with an energy provider, you can start to make back the cost of purchase. 

For every unit (KWh) of electricity you produce and consume at home you will be paid a set amount, which varies depending upon the size of your system and the technologies used. If you produce excess energy, you can sell this back to the energy company at 4.85p per unit. Phill and Jane have installed a solar panel system. Not only has their electricity bill dropped to just £40 a month, but, thanks to the tariff, the panels are making the couple £1800 a year. The tariff runs for 20 years following installation, and on average homeowners make back the cost on their investment within 10 to 11 years.

The couple have also taken advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive. As you may have guessed from its title, this subsidy is targeted at renewable heating technologies, which include ground or air-source heat pumps, biomass boilers, and solar thermal technology. The government pays participants for every unit of energy used, on a quarterly basis. Again, the exact rate this is paid at depends on the technology used. 

There are several prerequisites. The first is that you undertake a Green Deal assessment, as this will tell you which technology is most suitable for your house. The second is that you get loft and cavity wall installation installed if these are listed as recommendations on your Energy Performance Certificate, but both of those are going to help you save money in the long run anyway. 

Phill and Jane are currently using a biomass log boiler, as well as a solar thermal system. Together they combine to bring in £2700 a year. For this couple there are also few overheads, as Phill has managed to negotiate the use of a local company’s waste pallets, providing free fuel for the biomass boiler! The subsidy is paid for seven years following installation, although the expectation is that the system will have a twenty-year lifespan.

Interested? You can follow these links to find out more about the feed-in tariff as well as calculate your potential earnings from the renewable heat incentive. Better than that though, you can meet Phill and Jane yourself!

How? By joining a free tour of Phill and Jane’s house on 12 & 13 September as part of SuperHome Open Days. SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners for greater comfort, lower bills and far lower carbon emissions - at least 60% lower! The Open Days showcase eco renovation at its impressive best as the pioneering owners of over 50 SuperHomes open their doors across the UK. Entry is free. To find out more or to reserve a place on a tour, see www.superhomes.org.uk/196

Photo: Superhomes

More information about Feed-in Tariffs on YouGen

More information about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) on YouGen

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