Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) RHI your questions answered

This page will answer any questions you might have about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Click on the questions to reveal the answers, which include how much the tariff rates will pay you, which technologies are eligible and how to apply if you had a system installed before 2014.

 

Renewable Heat Incentive FAQ

What is RHI?˅

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme is designed to financially reward those who use renewable energy to heat their homes. Details of the scheme – the first of its kind in the world – were unveiled by the UK government in April 2014 for England, Scotland and Wales.

What are the RHI tariffs?˅

There are four different renewable heat technologies that are eligible for RHI payments, and consumers will receive a different tariff per kWh of heat energy produced, depending on the technology they choose and when they apply.

If you apply between 1 April and 30 June 2015:

  • 7.42p/kWh for air source heat pumps
  • 19.10p/kWh for ground source heat pumps
  • 5.14p/kWh for biomass boilers and biomass 'cooker stoves'
  • 19.51p/kWh for solar thermal panels

More details about the RHI payments and potential savings to be made can be found on our RHI costs and earnings page.

How much can I earn from RHI payments?˅

It depends on your personal circumstances, such as the size of your house, how much heating you need and the renewable heat technology you are choosing to install. In addition to the RHI payments, you can also save through the saving on your heating bills. This will vary depending on which fuel you are replacing (eg heating oil, LPG or electricity) and what you are replacing it with. 

To find out more  about how much you can earn and save from RHI, read our page on RHI costs and earnings.

How do I know if I’m eligible for RHI?˅

In order to be eligible for RHI payments, you must be either an owner occupier, a social landlord, a private landlord, a self-builder, a third-party owner of a heating system, or someone who has installed a renewable heat technology since 15 July 2009. 

Take a look at our guide to how to apply for RHI for more details of eligibility.

How do I apply for RHI?˅

Applications are made to Ofgem. Online applications can be submitted through the Ofgem website. If you cannot apply online, please phone Ofgem on 0300 003 0744. You will be able to complete your application over the phone with the help of an adviser, and all declarations will be posted to you afterwards.

Find out more about how to apply for RHI.

How long will it take before I start receiving my RHI payments?˅

Once you have submitted your application, Ofgem aims to respond within 10 working days to update you on its progress. Applications can be delayed if certain documents are missing, or if Ofgem needs to confirm any details. It is therefore recommended that you provide all necessary documentation during the application process and ensure that your heating system, assessor and installer are all MCS certified. 

Paper applications may take slightly longer, due to the time taken to receive the documents.

What if I’ve already installed a renewable heat system?˅

If you installed your renewable heat system on or after 15 July 2009 and before 9 April 2014, then you may be eligible for RHI – but you need to apply before 8 April 2015.

Check whether the brand and model of your system is on the Ofgem list of eligible MCS-certified technologies, and that it meets air-quality requirements. Unless you've already had a Green Deal assessment, you will need to have one.

To find out more about how to apply if you have renewable heat already installed, read the Ofgem advice for legacy applicants.

Why do I need a Green Deal assessment?˅

A Green Deal assessment will not only help you maximise the current energy efficiency of your property (by recommending extra loft and cavity wall insulation), but will also identify the best renewable heat system for your specific circumstances and help you estimate potential savings.

 

What is MCS?˅

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) ensures that manufacturers and installers of renewable heat and electric systems comply with industrial standards. If a technology is MCS certified, then you can be sure you are purchasing a quality product that has met all the sufficient criteria set out by the industry.

Similarly, if an installer is MCS certified, then you know they will adhere to the industry standards. You can search for your nearest MCS-certified installer on the MCS website.

MCS is internationally recognised, and supported by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

What is an EPC?˅

In order to apply for RHI payments, you need to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your home from a qualified assessor. The EPC is a document that shows the energy efficiency of your home. Properties can be ranked from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). 

The EPC will also show what measures could be introduced to improve the efficiency of your home, and is an obligatory document to provide when either building, selling or renting a property.

What technologies qualify for RHI?˅

There are four main renewable heat technologies that qualify for RHI – read the Which? guides to find out more:

I have hybrid solar photovoltaic thermal panels that produce electricity and heat. Am I eligible for RHI?˅

You will only be able to claim RHI for the heat generated by these panels, provided there is a separate thermal meter measuring kWh of heat produced.

Consumers can receive payments for any electricity produced through the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme. Find out more about how much you can earn with FIT in our guide to the feed-in tariff.

Will I need planning permission?˅

Each council has different rules regarding installing renewable heat systems. If in doubt, contact your local council to find out if you will need planning permission before installing any of these technologies.

Are RHI payments taxed?˅

Domestic RHI payments are tax free. This means that single domestic applicants won't be taxed on the payments they receive for generating their own heat.

What if I live in Northern Ireland?˅

The RHI scheme is slightly different in Northern Ireland, as the tariffs and details are set by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI). Please see Ofgem’s webpage dedicated to the Northern Ireland RHI scheme for more information.

What if I self-built my house?˅

If you are a self-builder, then you won’t need to complete a Green Deal assessment. You will, however, need a valid EPC in order to calculate the heat demand of your property and therefore work out your RHI payments.

What if I want more than one technology in my house?˅

You can claim RHI at the relevant tariffs if you have more than one technology installed. If you have two of the same technology installed, then your payments will be calculated according to the combined output of both.

What about second/holiday homes?˅

If your property is inhabited for less than half the year, you will need to install a meter for your renewable heat system. This will measure the quantity of heat produced.

Is there an extra payment for metered renewable heat systems?˅

If you have been required to install a meter for your biomass boiler, air source heat pump or ground source heat pump, then Ofgem will offer you an extra annual payment of £200 per year for a biomass pellet boiler, and £230 per year for an air/ground source heat pump. This will be paid quarterly into the same bank account where you would receive your RHI payments.

What if I have already received another public grant, such as RHPP?˅

Any public grants previously received, including the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP), will need to be declared. It will then be deducted to avoid people receiving a double subsidy.

Is it a problem if I want to keep a back-up heating system?˅

If you want to keep a back-up heating system (either renewable or not), you will need to have a meter installed on your main renewable system. Your RHI will be paid according to the specific meter readings of your renewable heating system, and will be capped according to the deemed heat use set out by Ofgem.

What happens if I sell my property?˅

RHI is attached to the property and not the inhabitants. If you sell your home, the new inhabitants will have to take over maintenance of the system and will receive the RHI payments.

Make sure you tell Ofgem if you sell, so it can arrange for the payments to be moved.

How do I make a complaint?˅

You can register a complaint about an assessor, installer or renewable heat technology on the Renewable Energy Consumer Code website.

How does RHI differ from FIT?˅

The feed-in tariff scheme pays households and communities that generate their own electricity from renewable sources, such as solar electricity (PV) panels or wind turbines. RHI is designed specifically for technologies that heat buildings.

FIT pays households for the excess electricity they produce, which is exported into the National Grid. The RHI does not include an equivalent payment, as heat can't be sold to other users.

Find out more, including how much you could earn with FIT in our guide on feed-in tariff.