Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

If you are thinking about installing Solar Thermal, Heat Pumps or Biomass this is a good time to install. The scheme works in a similar way to the Feed-in Tariff for PV.

The main points are summarised below:

  • Green Deal Assessment required
  • MCS registered products must be used
  • MCS registered installers must be used
  • Can claim if technology was installed since the 15th July 2009 will be eligible for payments.
  • Equivalent to a 12% pa return on your capital investment into your new system,Tariffs will be paid over a 7 year period
  • The payments will be made on the basis of ‘deemed’ heat output (kWh)
  • Tariffs (per kWh)
  • Air source heat pumps – 6.9p – 11.5p
  • Ground and water source heat pumps – 12.5p – 17.3p
  • biomass boiler – 5.1p – 8.7p;
  • solar thermal – 17.3p

Heat pumps are a method of transferring energy as heat from an outside source into your home. This source can be air, water or ground based hence the classification of this technology into via source. However the basic idea is the same.

Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps transfer heat energy from the outside to the inside of a house. It works in much the same way as an air conditioner but in reverse. It requires electricity to power it and can cut the amount of energy used for heating your home considerably. Heat pump efficiency is rated as a COP – Coefficient of performance. An average COP is around 3. This basically means for every unit of electricity put in, i.e. the running time of the pump, the compressor and evaporator, the heat pump will produce 3 units of electricity, thus making it 3 times more efficient. PIctured below is a 14kW heat pump that is used for both heating (underfloor) and domestic hot water. The heating circuit draws off a buffer tank which is heated by the air source heat pump.

The draw backs of an air source heat pump when compared with a ground source or water source is that the air temperature does not stay constant. This means the COP is continually changing. It is still better than a fossil fuel but not as efficient as ground and water source heat pumps.

Ground source and water source heat pumps
Ground Source heat pumps and water source heat pumps are more efficient than air source due to a constant temperature being maintained in both water and ground (once low enough). The obvious downfall of these systems are that you need a river or lake for water source heat pumps and a large amount of land or a borehole for ground source heat pumps. Bole holes can be very expensive as the hole needs to be, on average, 100 metres deep. This makes the initial cost very high and thus the return on invest goes down. Equally not all of us are lucky enough to have a river, lake or a large amount of land.

Renwable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) provides a grant of £850 towards the cost of installing an air source heat pump and £1250 toward the cost of a ground source heat pump.

Also from 2013 the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will provide an ongoing payment for heat produced, similar to the Feed in tariff for PV.

GHE can design and install ground or air sourced heat pumps that qualify for these incentives.