With government spending on the Renewable Heat Incentive only committed until April 2016, and its future plans for RHI or alternative green incentives uncertain, the time to act is now.
With binding obligations to a European carbon reduction target, it's hard to imagine the government not replacing RHI with an alternative scheme or extending the current scheme for new applications, but DECC's cards are being played close to their chest at the moment.
The ambition is to have 12% of heat coming from renewable sources by 2020, and while good progress has been made, there is still a way to go, and as we will face hefty fines if we fail to hit the target - which will make expenditure on RHI look like a drop in the ocean - it makes economic sense to continue to encourage uptake one way or another. We're not sure sticks will work with the domestic market and a carrot approach is more likely to achieve success.
But if April 2016 should be the end point, that leaves just 9 months of RHI certainty, so for anyone thinking of switching to renewables, and interested in benefitting from the still generous tariffs paid on heat pumps and solar thermal installations, it's time to start turning plans into action.
Especially in the case of ground source heat pumps, where groundworks are required, this takes a little planning and in the case of solar thermal panels, depending on your circumstances, you may or may not need planning permission, which again can take a little time to process.
Biomass RHI tariffs have been dropping steadily quarter by quarter to the point where only the larger installations will see payback within the life of the 7 year domestic RHI, but biomass still makes sense for some and here at Yorkshire Heat Pumps, this particular renewable energy heating technology has had strong appeal among many of our customers as it's an easy retro-fit option with an existing heating system and even works well in less well insulated properties, of which there are many in The Yorkshire Dales.
When RHI does come to an end, switching to renewables will look a little less attractive, but will still make sense for the long term, due to the significantly lower operating costs compared to fossil fuels, as well as the very significant carbon benefit this will deliver. For those on the gas grid the savings are more marginal, but we can happily calculate the savings you might make to help you judge if the switch is worthwhile for your pocket as well as the planet.