Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
How to apply for RHI
Article 3 of 3
How to apply for RHI
Find out if you're eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), how to apply and everything you need to know so you don't miss out on RHI payments.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides payments to people who use renewable energy to heat their homes. Our guide explains how to work out if you're eligible, the application process and what you need to do to ensure you don't miss out on payments.
We've also put together an easy-to-follow checklist to help make sure you don't miss out on any of the steps you need to follow. Click to download our handy RHI checklist (pdf).
Are you eligible for RHI?
In order to be eligible for the domestic RHI scheme, you must own a renewable technology and own or occupy the property it's in. So applicants need to be either:
- an owner occupier
- a social landlord
- a private landlord
- a self-builder.
Unless a new-build property is self-built, it is not currently eligible for RHI payments. However, these properties might be included in a future update of the scheme.
The domestic RHI scheme is for heating systems for single properties only. If there is a renewable heating system supporting more than one home, such as a block of flats, then residents or landlords may be able to apply for the non-domestic RHI scheme. There are some exceptions to this, however.
Some systems that provide heat to multiple buildings are eligible for the domestic RHI. This includes if you have a dwelling plus: a swimming pool in an annex; or a garage/outbuilding; or a shed; or a commercially used building (eg an office or stables).
Although the scheme was designed to help households that are off the gas grid (whose heating bills are typically higher), you also qualify if you have a gas-fired heating system and want to start producing renewable heat for your home.
If you live in Northern Ireland, the RHI scheme and tariffs are slightly different and are set by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI). See Ofgem’s advice on the Northern Ireland RHI scheme for more information.
How to apply for RHI
Here are the steps you need to take before installing a renewable heating system and applying for RHI:
1 Will RHI save you money?
Find out if a renewable heating system is likely to save you money on your bills - have a look at our expert guide to RHI costs and earnings.
2. Do you have a valid EPC?
Before you can install any renewable heat technology and before you can claim RHI, you must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that is no more than two years old. If your EPC recommends loft and cavity wall insulation, you must install it and get a new EPC before you can apply for RHI payments. There are some exceptions, however.
3. Find an installer
You need to get a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installer to install your renewable heating system. The MCS ensures that manufacturers and installers of renewable heat and electric systems comply with industry standards.
Take time in choosing your installer, and make sure they visit your home to give an accurate estimate of future RHI payments from your renewable heat system. Look for firms selling renewable heat systems that are part of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).
The installer has to be MCS certified for that particular renewable heat technology, and will need to supply you with an MCS certificate number for your system to prove that it is quality assured.
4. Apply for RHI
You should fill out the RHI application form and submit it to the energy regulator, Ofgem.
The application is free to submit, so make sure you only apply through the Ofgem website - rather than through an application-management organisation that will charge a fee. If you cannot apply online, phone Ofgem on 0300 003 0744 to complete the application over the phone with an adviser.
You must apply to Ofgem within 12 months of your renewable system being commissioned, to qualify for RHI payments.
As there are a lot of stages you need to remember in order to qualify for payments, we've pulled together all of this information into an interactive checklist for you to download and keep. Simply click to download our handy RHI checklist (pdf).
Eligible technologies for RHI
Here are the types of heat technology that are eligible for RHI:
- Air source heat pumps (air-to-water, but not air-to-air)
- Ground source heat pumps
- High-temperature heat pumps
- Biomass boilers (must use solid biomass fuel and be predominantly for space and water heating)
- Cooker stoves (biomass stoves with a back boiler predominantly designed for space and hot water heating)
- Solar thermal panels (flat plate and evacuated tube)
If you have previously installed a renewable heat technology in your home, or before you choose which technology to install, make sure you check the Ofgem list of eligible technologies to ensure that your system is authorised to receive RHI payments.
If you want to install a heat pump, carefully check on the Product Search section of the MCS register that the heat pump you are getting is MCS certified and complies with the new Energy-related Product Directive (ErP).
The ErP requirement affected heat pumps from 26 September 2015. If a heat pump doesn't meet the ErP requirement, it could lose its MCS certification - meaning that your system won't qualify for the RHI. If unsure, check with the manufacturer or your installer.
Biomass boilers and stoves must have valid Air Quality Emissions Certificates, and the fuel burned must be that listed on the certificate. Fuel must be bought from a supplier on the Biomass Suppliers List.
Solar photovoltaic panels are not eligible for RHI, as it’s specifically designed for renewable technologies that heat buildings. The feed-in tariff (FIT) pays households that generate their own electricity from renewable sources, such as solar electricity (PV) panels or wind turbines. To find out more about FIT, including how much you could earn, see our feed-in tariff guide.
Your renewable heating system
The renewable heating system will need to be metered if you:
- install a biomass boiler but still have an oil boiler as a back-up heater
- have a hybrid technology combining a heat pump and oil or gas boiler
- have more than one renewable technology to heat your home
- your biomass system only heats part of your home
- or your property is occupied for less than half the year.
Your installer will advise you on this and on how to get the meter fitted. You must use a MCS-certified installer to install all meters.
From spring/summer 2017, if you apply to receive RHI, your heat pump must have an electricity meter installed.
From September 2017, if you apply to receive RHI, your heat pump must have an electricity meter installed with it. This is to help make heat pump use as efficient as possible, by helping you to monitor the performance of your heating system and understand its electricity usage.
Your RHI application
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 documents are missing, or if Ofgem needs to confirm any details.
You’ll be sent a ‘statement of eligibility’ when your application is successful. This contains information about your payment dates and what you need to do to keep receiving them, such as keeping your system in good working order and telling Ofgem about any changes in ownership.
RHI is attached to the property, not the inhabitants. So if you move home, the new occupiers will have to take over maintenance of the system and will receive the RHI payments.
If you need to register a complaint about an assessor, installer or renewable heat technology, do this via the Renewable Energy Consumer Code website.