News story

More households can benefit from renewable heating

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

More social landlords and their tenants could soon be benefitting from renewable heating, helping them have warmer homes and lower bills.

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Changes to the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) mean that from Spring 2015 Registered Social Landlords will no longer be required to have a Green Deal Assessment in order to apply for the innovative RHI scheme.

If social landlords already have Energy Performance Certificates for their properties, and these are less than two years old, they will be able to apply to the scheme without requiring a Green Deal Assessment.

Amber Rudd MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change, said:

“Renewable heating is a win-win for everyone – landlords, tenants and the environment.

“Social landlords often provide homes for some of the most vulnerable people, by making the RHI more accessible to them, we hope more of their tenants will be able to enjoy warmer homes and lower bills.”

Latest statistics on fuel poverty show there are 2.28m fuel poor households in the UK, and 365,000 of them live in social housing.

Fuel poverty can be exacerbated for some if they need to pay upfront for their heating as is the case for many with oil fired systems.

Ralph Retallack, Energy Efficiency Project Manager at Coastline Housing Ltd in West Cornwall, already has over 200 properties using renewable Air Source Heat Pump heating systems, 130 of which have so far been accredited under the domestic RHI.

Mr Retallack said:

“Where we have installed air source heat pumps in our properties the feedback from tenants has been very good. Those who were previously unable to afford oil to heat their homes say it has transformed their properties.

“The upfront cost of oil is the problem - the minimum order is 500 litres which costs from around £270 up to £370 depending on market fluctuations.

“Electricity is required to run the air source systems, but our tenants can budget weekly for heat and hot water which is preferable, and enables them to enjoy a comfortable living environment at an affordable price.

“Our tenant customers have much warmer homes and lower bills – and Coastline receives the RHI payments to offset the cost of installation, so it works well for everyone.”

Andrew Burke, of the National Housing Federation said: “These changes to the RHI will reduce the unnecessary bureaucracy and costs for Social Landlords applying for RHI but the real benefit will be for their tenants, who will have warmer homes and lower energy bills. Renewable heating makes a big difference by reducing fuel poverty in off-gas grid areas.”

A further change to the domestic RHI scheme will see the list of eligible technologies expand to include cooker stoves from Spring 2015. These are biomass stoves with back boilers, mainly designed for space and hot water heating, but can also be used for cooking. As cooker stoves are biomass stoves, they will receive the biomass tariff of 12.2p/kWh.

This means the list of heating systems now eligible under the domestic RHI scheme includes:

Technology Tariff
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 (including cooker stoves) 12.2p/kWh
Solar thermal panels (flat plate and evacuated tube for hot water only) 19.2 p/kWh

To find out more about the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, to book a Green Deal Assessment or to receive free and impartial advice, call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 (England and Wales) or Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 (Scotland), or visit their website.

For further details about the scheme including eligibility criteria and how to apply, Ofgem should be able to help.

Notes to editors:

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat, offering homeowners payments to offset the cost of installing low carbon systems in their properties.

The scheme is open to everyone – home owners, social and private landlords, and people who build their own homes. It is available to households both on and off the gas grid.

Our RHI calculator can help people to understand more about what they could receive if they install a renewable heating system, just by tapping in a few details about their home.

As an approximate guide, the following renewable heating technologies could offer a range of fuel bill savings in the first year compared to the cost of running a new oil boiler, if installed and operated correctly:

  • A household installing an ASHP could save between 10 and 35%*
  • A household installing a GSHP could save between 25 and 40%*
  • A householder installing a biomass boiler could save between 15 and 40%, but this is also very dependent on the price of wood fuel used
  • Solar Thermal systems can save between £60-£130 depending on the amount of hot water used by the household

There will be a number of RHI roadshows throughout the winter, that anyone can go along to and find out more about renewable heat and how the scheme works.

These changes to the domestic RHI are likely to come into effect in Spring 2015, subject to the regulations being agreed by Parliament. Guidance has also been published on how new technologies are assessed for eligibility for inclusion in the RHI

Published 10 November 2014