Renewable heat at home could earn you money10,000 consumers already receiving money from RHI

11 October 2014

Solar thermal systems are eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

10,000 applications have been made and more than £1m paid out by a government scheme offering householders the chance to receive payments for generating their own renewable heat - could it work for your home?

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been running for six months now and has already paid more than £1m to those who have been accredited.  Over a third of these accreditations have been for air source heat pumps, but other technologies such as solar thermal panels are also included. So could you too benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive?

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?

The RHI scheme pays householders who have certain types of renewable heat technologies installed in their home. RHI is paid quarterly for seven years and the amount of money received will depend on which renewable heat technology you install, and how much renewable heat your system produces.

The scheme is primarily targeted at, but not limited to, households off the gas grid who rely instead on heating oil, LPG or electricity to heat their homes. RHI payments are meant to help offset the cost of installing and running a renewable heating system as these tend to be more expensive than conventional heating systems.

Read the Which? RHI guide to find out more details about the scheme, how much you could make, how to find out if you’re eligible and how to go about applying.

RHI payments and technologies

There are four different technologies eligible for the RHI scheme. Each technology has a different tariff per kilowatt-hour of renewable heat – payments also depend on their efficiency.

The tariffs above are then multiplied by the amount of heat generated (in kWh) by your renewable heating system. Details of the payments you will receive will be estimated based on your home's Energy Performance Certificate rating, and will be given upon completion of your Green Deal assessment. Read more about how to be eligible for the RHI and why you need a Green Deal assessment in our guide on how to apply for RHI.

Air source heat pumps dominate

In the first six months of the domestic RHI, the technology which has received the most accreditations has been air source heat pumps. This is how many accreditations have been approved by type of technology:

  • Air source heat pumps: 3,688
  • Solar thermal: 2,573
  • Biomass boilers: 2,200
  • Ground source heat pumps: 1,539

Can I make money from the RHI?

Whether or not RHI will work for you depends on several factors, including what type of home you have and what heating system you are looking to replace (e.g. heating oil, electric).

Take, for example, a three-bedroom house currently using electric heating. By installing a ground source heat pump, the household could receive RHI payments for seven years that not only cover the cost of installation of the pump, but also save them money on their annual heating bill.

On the other hand, a small semi-detached house using gas-fired heating is unlikely to make any savings by switching to renewable heat.

Our RHI costs and earnings page will be able to help you judge whether the RHI is worthwhile for your home, and will provide you with a rough idea of the payments you could receive and how much it would cost you to install a renewable heating system. 

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