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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

Financial incentives

Introduction to financial incentives for renewable energy and energy saving

There are currently three main financial incentives available for home and business owners who want to improve the energy efficiency of their building, or generate their own renewable heat or electricity:

The feed-in tariff (FIT) aims to encourage the production of decentralised energy and is paid to the owners of wind turbines, solar PV panels and micro hydro schemes. It is a true incentive, and offers a financial reward for investment in renewable energy.

The renewable heat incentive (RHI) aims to help Britain meet its renewable energy and carbon reduction targets. There are three elements to the scheme:

  • Renewable heat premium payments (RHPP) which are an interim measure until the full domestic was RHI launched in spring 2014. It offers upfront grants to help with the cost of installation. This amount will be deducted off the RHI payments over the life of the scheme.
  • Domestic RHI, which is a boiler replacement scheme. It aims to make the cost of renewable heat comparable to the more traditional alternatives for those off the mains gas network. It was launched in April 2014
  • Non-domestic RHI: this is an incentive scheme for all non-domestic installations.

The Green Deal aims to make energy efficiency measures available to all by taking away the upfront cost. As long as the expected financial savings in lower energy bills are equal to or greater than the cost of the energy efficiency measures installed, you are eligible. The Green Deal Finance Company stopped offering new loans in July 2015. However, the loan book has been sold to investors, so this pay-as-you-save scheme may yet be revived in 2017.

Scotland: The Home Energy Scotland renewables loan helps with the installation of domestic renewable technologies in Scotland. Interest free loans of up to £10,000 from the Scottish Government are available to owner occupiers in Scotland. For more, contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.

There are occasionally other grants and financial support available. For more information contact:

Domestic: Energy Saving Advice Service Tel: 0300 123 1234

Non-domestic: Carbon Trust

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