The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat. The government launched the RHI in November 2011 with a scheme for the non-domestic sector that provides payments to industry, businesses and public sector organisations. They have now set out plans for providing longer term support for homeowners in ‘Renewable Heat Incentive: the first step to transforming the way we heat our homes’. They plan to open the household scheme in spring 2014, but in the meantime domestic customers should read our guide on the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme for details of the householder voucher scheme that is currently available. The RHPP scheme has been extended for a further year to March 2014 to provide continued support for households until the domestic RHI is introduced. The RHI pays participants of the scheme that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. By increasing the generation of heat from renewable energy sources (instead of fossil fuels), the RHI helps the UK reduce green house gas emissions and meet the target for reducing the effect of climate change..

Domestic RHI

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched in April 2014 allowing home-owners to benefit from funding when installing a renewable heating system. The scheme is designed to encourage people to use renewable heat technologies in their homes to cut carbon emissions, help meet the 2020 renewables target and save money on fuel bills.

Eligibility and Requirements

The scheme is available for home-owners that are both on and off gas grid. People that own the homes they live in, private and registered social landlords and self-builders can all apply. Anyone who has installed a renewable heat technology since the 15th July 2009 and meets the criteria is able to apply.

The renewable heat technology must be in a property capable of getting a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC is the proof that your property is assessed as a domestic ‘dwelling.’ A Green Deal Assessment is essential when applying for the scheme and this will include an up to date EPC for the applicants home.

Applicants must also make sure that the renewable heating system they choose is eligible.

The following systems are currently included:
• Biomass only boilers and biomass pellet stoves.
• Air source heat pumps.
• Ground source heat pumps.
• Solar thermal panels – flat plate or evacuated tube only

A system within one of the above categories must also meet specific technical requirements and be certified under Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) – the full list of eligible products and requirements is available here.

Should you choose a biomass system you should be aware that from Spring 2015 you will have to meet new sustainable requirements put in place by the government. This will primarily mean that all of your fuel must be sourced from a producer/supplier that is registered on the Biomass Supplier List (BSL). LC Energy have now been approved on this list as a producer for wood chip and we are currently in the process of applying to be registered as a certified pellet supplier.

Tariffs & Payments

Biomass boilers and biomass stoves

Air source heat pumps

Ground Source heat pumps

solar thermal

Tariff (per kilowatt hour renewable heat)

12.2p 7.3p 18.8p 19.2p

To find out how much you could earn from the scheme the Department of Energy and Climate Change have now released an online calculator which can give you a rough idea of what you could expect.

Once the application has been processed and accepted the home-owner will then receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat their system produces.

Non-Domestic RHI

The non-domestic RHI scheme

RHI Emission Certificates

Since the non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was launched, the majority of funding has been allocated to biomass installations. Commercial users are seeing the benefits of using biomass as a low carbon fuel, incentivised by RHI payments for users.

However, anyone applying for the RHI since September 24 2013 with a biomass boiler needs to have either a RHI emission certificate or an environmental permit. This is to meet new air quality requirements, and to make sure that biomass boilers have minimal particulate and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. The criteria for the RHI emission certificate is a maximum of 30 grams per gigajoule (g/GJ) net heat input for particulate matter, and 150 g/GJ for NOx (expressed as NO2). If the biomass boiler does not have a RHI emission certificate then you can apply for an environmental permit from the Environment Agency. Biomass boilers that do not have a RHI emission certificate or an environmental permit will be ineligible for the non domestic RHI.

The new air quality requirements apply to any non domestic RHI applications made after 24 September 2013, which is the date the new regulations took effect. Applications before that date don’t need to meet the air quality requirements, however if you apply for additional boiler capacity now then that additional capacity will need to meet the new standards. Manufacturers who are having biomass boilers tested for emissions since September 24 2013 need the testing carried out by a test laboratory which is accredited to ISO 17025. If a boiler has been tested and certificated before that date then it’s not mandatory for the test house to be accredited to that standard. Boilers are tested using the type testing range approach, which means that not every individual boiler in a range has to be tested. By testing the smallest and largest output boilers, and possibly a mid size boiler, the whole range can be certificated for a RHI emission certificate.

End users must make sure they use the correct fuel, which will be specified in the emission certificate. The manufacturer’s handbook will also detail how to operate the boiler correctly to minimise emissions. For users burning pellets there is a Europe wide standard to ensure fuel quality – Enplus. HETAS is approved as the UK certification body for ENplus by the European Pellet Council (EPC), and is able to certificate both producers and traders under the ENplus scheme. ENplus certification sets out minimum standards for ash content, ash melting temperature, wood pellet size, dust, moisture content and heat output. For more information contact HETAS at

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Wood Fuel Magazine 2016