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Financial support for renewable technology

Renewable Heat Incentive

Location notice

Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in England, Scotland, Wales.

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) closed to new applications on 31 March 2022.

The information on this page is intended for reference only. If you have already successfully applied for an eligible installed system you are unaffected by the scheme’s closure.

Please see our financial support pages for more information about support available for renewable technology and energy efficiency. For the most detailed advice, please contact one of the following advice services:

  • England: Simple Energy Advice on 0800 444202
  • Scotland: Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282
  • Wales: Nest on 0808 808 2244
  • Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Energy Advice line on 0800 111 4455

Closure of the scheme

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (domestic RHI) scheme closed to new applications at midnight on 31 March. The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) will continue to support the deployment of low carbon heat technologies in England and Wales. The BUS will pay an upfront grant which is designed to help consumers in England and Wales only overcome the high upfront cost of purchasing and installing a low carbon heating system.

If you live in England or Wales and decide to apply to the BUS scheme, your installation must be commissioned on or after 1 April, and the application made once the scheme has launched. If you live in Scotland, the Home Energy Scotland advice service may be able to offer you advice on support available.

The UK Government’s domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme was available for properties in England, Scotland or Wales. Under the scheme, successful applicants receive quarterly cash payments over seven years for an installed eligible renewable heating technology.

The Renewable Heat Incentive was not available to residents in Northern Ireland.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

The Renewable Heat Incentive was a UK Government scheme aiming to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies amongst householders, communities and businesses through financial incentives, and increase heating coming from renewable sources.

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) made key policy decisions and energy regulator Ofgem E-Serve administered the scheme.

Policy documents are available on the UK Government website.

There were two versions of RHI: domestic, and non-domestic. This page provides information on the domestic RHI, but for details on the non-domestic RHI, you can visit Ofgem.

Domestic RHI scheme

The domestic RHI launched on 9 April 2014 and provided financial support to the owner of the renewable heating system for seven years. The scheme covered England, Wales and Scotland.

Ofgem have also published a document of case studies from the domestic RHI for further information.

Eligibility

We have listed some of the key eligibility criteria below, but full requirements and rules of the scheme are available on Ofgem’s website.

What technologies were eligible for RHI payments?

Ofgem’s essential guide for applicants has more information about which technologies were eligible for RHI payments.

We have given some information on eligibility criteria here – including additional requirements for biomass systems (below). Further guidance on domestic RHI eligibility criteria can also be found on Ofgem’s site.

To be eligible for RHI payments all renewable technologies had to be:

  • Listed as a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified product.
  • Issued with a MCS certificate.

The MCS site has full details of MCS certified products and MCS certified installers.

Technologies included are:

  • Biomass (wood fuelled) boilers*.
  • Biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers providing space heating*.
  • Ground to water heat pumps.
  • Air to water heat pumps.
  • Solar thermal panels (flat plate or evacuated tube only) providing hot water for your home.
  • Water source heat pumps were potentially eligible for the domestic RHI – they were included in the definition of a ground source heat pump.
  • Certain cooker stoves and high temperature heat pumps could also be eligible.

* See additional requirements for biomass systems below.

Non-compliant technologies

The domestic RHI did not support air-to-air heat pumps, log stoves, pellet stoves without back boilers and hybrid photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors (PVT).

Additional requirements for biomass systems

For a biomass system to be eligible for RHI payments it must also:

  • Have had a RHI Emissions Certificate. The RHI EC List shows which products are certified.
  • Use biomass fuel purchased from an approved sustainable wood fuel supplier**. The UK Government’s Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) shows registered supplier of biomass wood fuel meeting RHI requirements.

**It is advisable to check whether a fuel supplier is registered before entering into a long-term supply contract. Not all fuels from BSL suppliers are sustainable as they may supply more than one type of fuel. You should check with your supplier, or prospective supplier, which of their fuels are registered.

Who could apply for RHI?

  • Owners of an eligible technology that own and/or occupy the property it is installed were able to apply for RHI support until the scheme closed. This included self-builders, private landlords and registered providers of Social Housing (provided they meet eligibility criteria).
  • Single domestic dwellings were covered.
  • RHI support was not usually available to new build properties (other than self-build projects).

Other considerations

There are limits on the amount of space heating a house can receive payments for. The heat demand limits are set at 20,000kWh for ASHPs, 25,000kWh for biomass boilers and stoves and 30,000kWh for GSHPs. There is no limit for solar water heating systems.

For heat pumps, if the deemed demand is more than the capped limit then customers are paid the unit tariff multiplied by the amount of renewable heat that contributes to the capped demand.

Ofgem guidance has more information about these changes.

Questions about an existing domestic RHI application should be directed to Ofgem e-Serve, the scheme administrators, at 0300 003 0744 (Monday – Friday) or by emailing domesticrhi@ofgem.gov.uk. You can find their telephone opening hours on Ofgem’s website.

Assignment of Rights (AoR)

The introduction of ‘assignment of rights’ (AoR) was an option to help householders and landlords access finance to overcome the barrier of the upfront cost of a renewable heating system.

Assignment of rights allowed an ‘investor’ to help fund the purchase, installation and maintenance, of a household or landlord’s renewable heating system. Households and landlords were then able to assign their RHI payments to the investor, who is referred to in the RHI Regulations as the ‘nominated’ investor. This came into effect on 27 June 2018.

RHI payments

Those who successfully applied before the scheme closed on 31 March 2022 receive RHI payments quarterly over seven years. The amount received depends on a number of factors – including the technology installed, the tariffs available at the time of application and – in some cases – metering.

Tariffs

RHI tariffs were set by the UK Government at a level designed to compensate for the difference between costs of installing and operating renewable heating systems and fossil fuel systems, including non-financial costs such as disruption, based on 20 years of heat produced. Fossil fuel costs used are those for off-gas households.

  • Ofgem make payments on a quarterly basis for seven years. Normally the heat required to heat the property is deemed (estimated) and payments based on this amount.
  • Biomass – renewable heat generated by biomass is based on an estimated heat demand from an EPC (up to the limit for this technology).
  • Heat pumps – renewable heat generated by heat pumps is based on an estimate of the heat demand from an EPC (up to the limit for this technology) combined with an estimate of the heat pump’s efficiency.
  • If you are metered for payment your RHI payments are based on meter readings (up to the heat demand limit for this technology).
  • Solar thermal systems – renewable heat generated by solar thermal systems is based on the estimate of system performance completed as part of a Microgeneration Certification Scheme installation.

Elements affecting payment

Once you are receiving domestic RHI payments, the rate will change annually. For new installations, the rates are adjusted every year in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Metering

There are two types of metering that may be required of domestic RHI customers: metering for payment and metering for performance.

Metering for payment

Most domestic systems RHI payments will be based on an estimated heat output (‘deeming’) but in some cases, Ofgem base payments from metered output. The most common scenarios for this requirement are:

  • You have ‘back-up’ heating or a heating system designed to only partially heat the property.
  • The property is occupied for less than half the year.

There are other scenarios where metering for payment is a requirement though, and we suggest reviewing Ofgem’s Essential Guide to Metering for a full list.

Metering for performance

Changes to the domestic RHI meant that heat pumps registering for the scheme from 22 May 2018 must also meter for performance. Customers that are only required to have metering for performance, receive payments based on ‘deemed’ heat demand, as determined by their Energy Performance Certificate or heat demand limit.

Further details can be found in Ofgem’s factsheets:

Do you live in Scotland?

Home Energy Scotland can provide advice on choosing a renewable energy system and any potential financial support available.

Get in touch

Last updated: 1 April 2022