Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
Changes to the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (RHI) have recently been announced. The adjustments have the capacity to remove the barriers to energy efficiency upgrades for some of the most vulnerable consumers in the country.
RHI is a financial incentive scheme encouraging and promoting the installation of heating systems that use naturally replenished energy. It is expected that it will help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and is applicable for both Non- Domestic and Domestic Buildings.
From Spring 2015
From Spring 2015 registered Social Landlords will be able to apply for the RHI Scheme if they have an Energy Performance Certificate which is less than 2 years old. There will no longer be a requirement for a Green Deal Assessment if this criteria is fulfilled.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) states that the reasoning behind the changes is that ‘Social landlords often provide homes for some of the most vulnerable people and by making the RHI more accessible, tenants will enjoy warmer homes and lower bills’.
What’s In It For Me?
The RHI will pay the following tariffs per unit, for energy generated, over the next 7 years.
|Air-source heat pumps||7.3p/kWh|
|Ground and water-source heat pumps||18.8p/kWh|
|Biomass-only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers||12.2p/kWh|
|Solar thermal panels (flat plate and evacuated tube for hot water only)||19.2 p/kWh|
Source UK gov.uk – Updated Nov 2014
Goodbye Oil, Hello Renewable Energy
The DECC says that 365,000 people live in fuel poverty and a further 2.28 million are in fuel-poor households. A large percentage of those who struggle with fuel costs live in ‘off the gas grid’ properties, relying on oil and electricity to heat their homes.
Additionally, many of these households have to pay up-front fuel costs, through pre-payment electricity meters or oil deliveries. Removing the need for a Green Deal Assessment paves the way for homes to be made warmer and lower heating costs for some of the most vulnerable people.
Barriers to change
Landlords in the rental sector both domestic and non-domestic are still somewhat reluctant to embrace energy efficiency, due to the perceived cost of upfront investment required. A large percentage of the UK rented housing stock is still Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Rated E-G. Private and Commercial tenants often do not have the influence or the appetite to push for property efficiency improvements. There is a thought that if they rock the boat they will be asked to leave. On the other hand, understandably, Landlords think ‘what’s the benefit to me?’ and so do ‘just enough’. Whilst there are many exceptional landlords out there, who understand the importance of energy efficiency in their properties, there are still as many who need to need to be persuaded.
Simplified RHI Funding
Making the RHI funding and improvement process simpler, at least in the Domestic rented sector, should mean only good things for the tenant, the landlord’s property portfolio and the UK’s Carbon Emissions targets.