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Green light for Renewable Heat Incentive

As part of the Spending Review in October, the Chancellor confirmed that the long-awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will go ahead, with a launch scheduled for June 2011. Many had feared that this measure would fall victim to the spending axe. Although details of the scheme have yet to be announced, the government has committed to the target of generating 12% of all heat from renewable sources by 2020.

Image courtesy of greenspec (www.greenspec.co.uk) solar collector

Key aspects of the consultation

Any scheme is likely to embody several key aspects, as outlined in the consultation on the RHI published earlier in 2010:

  • A range of technologies will be supported, including solar thermal, air- and ground-sourced heat pumps, biogas- and biomass-fuelled boilers, and renewable combined heat and power.
  • All scales of heating will be eligible, from households through to businesses, offices, industrial processes and the public sector.
  • Tariffs will be set at levels that compensate for the additional cost of installing renewable technologies, and provide a return on the investment of 12% across all technologies and 6% for solar thermal.

However, some points particularly relevant to householders have emerged from the consultation:

  • Wood-burning stoves (even with a back boiler) are excluded - difficult to monitor usage and admin costs too high
  • Only renewable heating systems installed after 15 July 2009 will qualify
  • Solar thermal will get a lower return because it is a 'well-known technology', compared with, say, ground-source heat