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An Introduction to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme

Posted on 6 July 2017

An Introduction to the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme

The Renewable Heat Incentive is a government scheme that provides financial support for heating projects that utilise renewable heat in the form of heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar thermal in place of fossil fuelled alternatives. The scheme works in much the same way as the Feed In Tariff does for solar PV and wind power with payments being made against generated power or in this case, heat. Launched in November 2011, the government was able to introduce some of the lessons learnt from the FiT scheme to ensure that the financial incentives were balanced against the actual carbon and energy saving benefits of moving away from fossil fuels. Consequently, the scheme is quite onerous in terms of completing the application process, which is where Infinitas Design can step in.

The scheme is divided into two: non-domestic and domestic. The former covers all forms of commercial and industrial buildings such as schools, leisure centres and factories, as well as multiple home schemes where the homes share a single heat generator. These generally utilise some form of district heat network. Even if only 2 homes are connected to a shared generator, this is still classed as non-domestic. As the name suggests, the domestic scheme is purely for individual homes. In the former, the payments are made for 20 years and in the latter case, payments are made for 7 years. In both cases, payments are subject to inflationary rises and are paid quarterly.

The current non-domestic tariff rates can be found on my page here.

The non-domestic RHI application is certainly more demanding than the domestic scheme. The application is carried out online and asks for a lot of information on the heat generator, the heat meters, the use of heat, details of external pipework and expected generation. Typical documents that are required are:

  • RHI system schematic;
  • Heat Loss Assessment (HLA);
  • Letter of Authorisation;
  • Emissions certificate (biomass) or SCOP calculation (heat pumps);
  • Commissioning certificates;
  • Business rates or council tax bills;
  • Photographs of heat meters and equipment name plates and serial numbers

An Independent Metering Report (IRMA) is sometimes required. This must be written by a competent person and Infinitas Design regularly creates these for clients.

Infinitas Design Ltd has now completed over 30 RHI applications ranging from simple 100kW biomass heat-only boilers to 800kW water source heat pumps, biogas CHP using biogas from an anaerobic digester, air and ground source heat pumps and small solar thermal installations. As design engineers, we can also offer design advice and guidance on the correct methodology to ensure RHI compliance at an early stage of a project. We can get involved from the start of the project if required but quite often, we are called in at a later stage when a client is unsure of the process and may have only got halfway through. We are happy to help in either situation, even if you just need a schematic or heat loss assessment doing. We have a 100% pass rate for RHI applications, even on systems that are classed as ‘difficult’. Give us a call or drop us an email to discuss.