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Published: 13/07/2016

RHI Hits 50,000 Mark

Number of home solar thermal systems and heat pumps accredited under Renewable Heat Incentive scheme passes 50,000 mark

More than 50,000 installations have now been accredited under the government’s Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) providing millions of tonnes in CO2 savings, according to the scheme’s administrator Ofgem E-Serve that also includes biomass.

Announced yesterday, the milestone brings the total renewable heat generated by all accredited installations – such as biomass boilers and heat pumps – to 827,000MwH, providing estimated carbon savings of approximately 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 over the scheme’s 20-year operating period.

Established in 2014, the Domestic RHI is designed to encourage householders to make use of renewable energy technologies to generate their own heating and hot water, driving demand for emerging green heat technologies and curbing carbon emissions in the process.

The scheme pays participants with accredited systems a quarterly tariff over seven years based on their renewable heat output. Technologies eligible for payment under the scheme include both ground and air-source heat pumps, biomass and solar thermal power systems.

A survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) earlier this year found the RHI for both domestic and non-domestic applicants had played a crucial role in efforts to cut carbon emissions from the UK heat sector.

However, although the scheme has been extended, the government is planning to reform the RHI in a bid to expand the rollout of a wider range of low-carbon technologies and widen access to the scheme among smaller households.

Key planned changes to the Domestic RHI include the introduction of ‘heat demand limits’ to prevent larger homes claiming too much of the budget, new rules allowing households to reassign their right to RHI payments to companies that have installed low-carbon technology, and higher tariff rates for heat pumps. However, the proposals also include controversial plans to end support for solar thermal systems.