Domestic RHI is launched

Published:  09 April, 2014

The long-awaited domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is officially launching today, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed.

The scheme aims to boost the uptake of renewable heating, offering homeowners payments to offset the cost of installing low-carbon systems in their properties. The merchant industry has largely responded positively to the news.

"The RHI has been a long time coming, but we should all celebrate its arrival and recognise its significance in achieving the UK's carbon reduction targets,” said Ian Stares, PTS' product director for renewable energy products. “The heating industry has been strengthening its knowledge and expertise in this area for a number of years, so I believe we are in a good position to make the RHI a huge success.”

Paul Joyner, managing director of SBS – part of the Travis Perkins Group – has also celebrated what he calls “fabulous news”.

“With £2.7bn of funding available to inspire an anticipated 750,000 installations by 2020, we are expecting the RHI to do for the renewable heating sector what Feed In Tariffs did for solar photovoltaics,” he said.

John Byrne (pictured left), heating category manager for F&P Wholesale, is another to welcome the domestic RHI’s arrival. “At last, after many months of speculation, the government has given the RHI the green light, meaning the heating and plumbing industry can finally take a deep breath and refocus on the way forward for renewable technologies in this country," he said.

However, Mr Byrne has concerns about uptake of the scheme, explaining that its success will most likely be down to installers. He believes that DECC has a lot of work to do to encourage installers to give renewable technologies another try.

“While it’s clear change won’t happen overnight, the optimist in me hopes independent merchants will start to report a slight upturn in renewables by the end of this year,” he said. “This remains to be seen though, and with the RHI favouring biomass ahead of more accessible technologies like solar thermal, it will be a steep hill to climb.”

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