The end is nigh (almost) for RHI!

With just over a year until the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme closes to new applicants, time is running out for homeowners who wish to benefit from the generous government incentives currently being paid for moving to 'green', energy-efficient heating technologies.

There’s just over a year to go until the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (dRHI) scheme closes to new applicants, so we’d advise anyone wishing to take advantage of this government incentive for ‘going green’ to act fast, while the RHI budget lasts.

Launched in 2014, the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme was designed to encourage people to switch from fossil fuel heating systems to low carbon alternatives: ground and air source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal panels, by neutralising the cost of installation. Paid quarterly over a 7-year period, dRHI payments can often exceed the cost of installation, so offer many switchers a great deal, especially when combined with lower operating costs than fossil fuel systems.

It was known from the outset that the scheme had a limited life and it closes to new applicants on 31st March 2021. So, what has been achieved in the 6 years since launch?

Ofgem data up to 8th September 2019 shows a total of 72,565 renewable heating systems have been approved to join the scheme since its inception. The majority of these are air source heat pumps (56%), followed by biomass boilers (18%), ground source heat pumps (14%) and bringing up the rear, solar thermal panels (12%).

Given that the government’s Climate Change Committee has recommended that “The 29 million existing homes across the UK must be made low carbon, low-energy and resilient to a changing climate”, there is still some way to go!

There are urgent appeals being made by trade organisations from across the renewable energy sector for the scheme to be extended if we want to have any chance of hitting our carbon reduction targets. The country’s stated goal is to achieve net zero Green House Gas emissions by 2050 and the UK has performed pretty well until now, meeting its first and second carbon budgets, and is on track to hit its third for the period 2018 – 2022, but we’re sadly not on track to meet the carbon budget for the period 2023 – 2027.

With the new Chancellor settling in to No 11, busy preparing his first budget, he’s been sent urgent appeals by industry leaders to extend the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and ensure we continue to make progress towards our carbon reduction obligations. However, it’s been widely expected that the government will move away from subsidies and towards mandatory instruction or prohibition to encourage the shift towards low carbon heating.

If the scheme closes as planned next year, we fully expect to see a drop in interest in renewables, but hope whatever sticks replace the dRHI carrot, that these soon reignite interest in these technologies.

For now, we can only urge anyone contemplating a switch and installing a heat pump or biomass boiler to take action now to avoid missing out. This is particularly important if the new heating system is part of a wider refurbishment, renovation or even a new build as the design, planning and implementation phases can take some time.

To be eligible for the scheme, the system must be fully installed, commissioned and be generating heat, and you must have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate for the property before you can apply. So, in reality, your installation will really need to have been completed well before the 31st March 2021 deadline, just to make sure you don’t run out of time.   

If you’d like more information about which renewable energy heating system might be right for you and your property, why not call in and see us at the Yorkshire Heat Pumps HQ just outside Harrogate? Alternatively, give us a call on 01423 788699 or get in touch via the contact form and we’ll call or email you back to see how we can help you ‘go green’ and benefit from these incentives, while they last.

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