Spring 2015 Changes to the RHI

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been running for about 9 months now, and it has now become apparent that the Government are planning to tweak the scheme slightly. The good news is that the RHI payments for air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal are due to stay the same – there is no change, but the biomass rate will be reduced from Jan 2015. A summary of the rates now and the slight tweak to biomass is shown in the table below:

Table of Domestic RHI - Jan 15 update

The biomass rate changes only impacts new residential biomass installs (where the install has taken place since 10th April 2014) – so if you have had a boiler installed after this date, don’t delay your RHI application.

Any legacy install (those who installed before 9th April 2014) will not be impacted so even if they apply after the 1st January date, the applicant will still get the 12.2 p / kWh payment. There is also no impact on those who have installed their boiler and are already receiving their RHI payments –  they will be receiving the same payment after the change (and for the next 7 years of the scheme).

Cooker Stoves

As long as the stove meets the scheme requirements, they will become eligible for the RHI. The stove needs to have a back boiler designed for space and hot water heating. This will not include traditional range cookers or stoves where the heat generated for cooking is incidental to the heat generated for heating. Existing installations will need to apply by 31st July 2015, otherwise you will miss out!

High temperature heat pumps

Up until now, heat pumps were only eligible if they heated the water to 55 degrees or less. This has excluded the high temperature heat pump, which can be almost as efficient at temperatures up to 80 degrees. These heat pumps will now be eligible as long as their SPF is above 2.5. There will be no chance for previously installed heat pumps to apply – only new pumps going forward.

Why would you want a high temperature heat pump? Because in older, less well insulated properties, the standard heat pump can’t get the house up to temperature. With a high temperature pump, you can heat the home using the same sized radiators as you would with oil. That means less expensive radiator replacements and a warmer home.

Biomass regulations

From autumn next year, all biomass installations will need to meet certain sustainability criteria. This mostly refers to the source of fuel being used, and you should speak to your fuel supplier to ensure they are on the approved suppliers list. If you provide your own fuel, you are going to have to register as a self supplier, and follow the relevant regulations.

Changes for properties with more than 1 building and social landlords

Currently the regulations are a bit murky when it comes to annex buildings or swimming pools. These properties will now be eligible for the RHI, but payments will be based on the EPC for the main dwelling, so you will not get an RHI payment to help heat your pool!

Social landlords will now no longer need a Green Deal Assessment to apply for the RHI, simply an EPC.

Changes to MCS

There will be a revision of MCS standards in the new year, and gradually all installations will be moving over to them. That means that installers might be using one system or another until spring 2015, when the new standards will become compulsory. If you install under the new system before then, you are going to have to wait to apply for the RHI until the spring, and you have 12 months from commissioning to get it done.

To learn more about the renewable heat incentive, please go to our main domestic RHI page that you can access by clicking below


Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?

Comment below to get your voice heard…