A short guide to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) - could it work for you?
Similar to the Feed-in Tariffs for renewable electricity, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is aimed at significantly increasing the proportion of heat generated from renewable sources. It is a commitment by the government to long-term financial support, paying a fixed amount per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of heat produced over a 20-year term, adjusted each year for inflation.
The tariffs started in November 2011 and meant that renewable heating became a much more economically viable proposition for farmers and growers. Payments are made quarterly, calculated by multiplying the relevant tariff by the amount of metered heat generated. The heat cannot be wasted and must be used for a prescribed purpose: space, water or process heating. Tariffs will reduce over time in line with expected falls in the cost of the technologies. So the sooner you register, the higher the rate you secure.
With the RHI, it really is possible to reduce the cost of your heating to nothing!
A wide range of technologies and fuels are supported. The main interest currently lies with biomass boilers and heat pumps, which are dominating the RHI approvals list.
Solid fuel biomass boilers, e.g. straw or woodchip fuel, are particularly popular because they produce hot water at the same temperature as a traditional gas or oil fuelled boiler, so they are readily integrated with existing heating systems.
A particularly good return on investment can be achieved in horticulture because of the all-year-round heat demand of so many horticultural businesses, such as greenhouses.
In essence, the RHI is a very simple concept, but does contain a range of qualifying and operational criteria and should be carefully studied when planning any renewable heat project.
Full details of RHI eligibility, tariffs and the latest reviews and consultations are available on the RHI section of the Department of Energy and Climate Change website.
You may also want to find out more about the Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) for renewable electricity generation.