The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government-run scheme designed to get more people investing in renewable energy systems.
There are thousands of eligible product models eligible to claim the RHI, as long as they follow certain rules. Here we’ll let you know more about which biomass boilers do and don’t make the cut.
Is my biomass boiler eligible for the RHI?
To qualify for the RHI, your biomass boiler needs to be situated in England, Wales or Scotland. Northern Ireland has its own RHI scheme – you can find out more here. You need an EPC that is less than 2 years old, and that reflects any recent construction. If cavity and/or loft insulation is recommended on the EPC, you’ll be rejected from the scheme until you get these installed.
The RHI is designed for improving existing properties, which means that if your biomass boiler was installed as part of a new build, it’s very unlikely to be eligible for the RHI. There is an exception for “custom builds” – you can find out more about that here.
The biomass boiler itself must be new to be eligible. Don’t worry if your radiators and pipes and whatnot aren’t new, it’s the heat generating element that needs to be (in this case, the boiler itself).
You can claim the RHI on one space heating system, as well as one domestic hot water supply. The rules around having more than one space heating system in your property is a little more complicated. If you’re trying to claim on a second space heating system on the same property, you can find out more here.
If you’re looking to heat multiple properties with your biomass boiler, you may find that you’re not eligible under the Domestic RHI, but can still receive the Non-Domestic RHI scheme. Outhouses and similar are okay for the Domestic RHI as they still count as the same single property. A good rule of thumb is your EPC certificate; if you’re attempting to get funding for the Domestic RHI, your biomass boiler must only be heating one EPC location.
The biomass boiler itself is required to have been installed by an MCS accredited installer, as you’ll need your MCS certificate. The MCS certificate will also be used to determine when the biomass boiler was installed. To be eligible for the RHI it has to have been installed within the last 12 months. That means no more than 12 months between the date of installation on that certificate, and the date on your application.
If it’s a biomass boiler, it must be designed and installed to use solid biomass fuel, and use a liquid to provide space heating. It can supply hot water too, but that can’t be its sole purpose – it must be a space heating system.
The biomass boiler must also comply with air quality requirements. This means that the emissions of particulate matter (PM) can’t be above 30 grams per gigajoule net heat output, and emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) must not exceed 150 grams per gigajoule net heat output. To provide evidence of this, you’ll need to make sure that your installation has an RHI Emission Certificate. You can often find this certificate on the HETAS RHI Emission Certificate List. To claim the RHI on biomass boilers, you must use a fuel type specified on the certificate and ensure that the moisture content doesn’t go above what is listed there.
With biomass, for the duration of the RHI scheme (7 years) you’re required to make an annual declaration about your operation of the system. Ofgem may require evidence for this, so try to keep track any fuel receipts or similar.
The last big restriction is that your biomass boiler must be compliant with the Ecodesign of Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive. This is a fairly complicated framework which sets mandatory ecological requires for products in the EU. It’s very unlikely that you would have a biomass boiler that passes all the other eligibility criteria but fails this one.
You can download the full list of eligible biomass boiler models here.
How much will my biomass boiler RHI payments be?
For details on how to figure out what your RHI payments will be, you can read our full breakdown here.