How to Qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive
Want to know if you qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive? Find out what the criteria are for phase 1 and 2 of the scheme and how you can benefit. The Renewable Heat Incentive was announced in the United Kingdom in 2009 and became the first scheme of its kind in the world when it was implemented in 2011.
The government funded initiative targets owners of new sustainable energy systems, as well as those looking to replace existing gas and oil systems with renewable fuels. It aims to provide significant ongoing financial assistance to help towards the costs of installation and upkeep of the generators.
Phase 1: Who's Eligible?
Currently, only Phase 1 of the Renewable Heat Incentive is active and has been accepting applications since 2011. Phase 1 focuses on the commercial sector only and includes all business such as private companies, all public organisations such as schools, hospitals and prisons, and all non-profit charities located within England, Scotland and Wales.
For these commercial sector businesses to qualify for financial assistance from the Renewable Heat Incentive, there are a number of conditions that must be met. Firstly, an eligible sustainable energy system must be in place. This includes biomass boilers, solar collectors and heat pumps.
These systems must be new, and must have been installed after 15th July 2009 (the date that the scheme details were made public). Those replacing existing alternative fuel based generators with new systems will qualify, but a conversion of an existing model will not. All systems must be new.
For all generators under 45 kW, both the equipment and the installers must be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. The official MCS website can provide details of suppliers of MCS certified products.
All applicants to the scheme must legally declare that they will maintain upkeep of the system for the 20 year lifetime of the project and will be required to submit maintenance log details. The Renewable Heat Incentives administrators, Ofgem have the right to inspect all installations.
Phase 2: Who's Eligible?
Phase 2 is expected to be launched in summer 2013 and will see the scheme expanded to include domestic residences and possibly a wider range of eligible generators. While the exact eligibility criteria for Phase 2 remain unconfirmed, the government has issued some information regarding how homeowners can qualify for Renewable Heat Incentive Phase 2 payments.
To qualify for Phase 2, sustainable energy systems must be installed in single private residences. This includes homes that have been adapted for home working, but where the home itself does not contribute to the business. Currently, homeowners are able to claim Renewable Heat Premium Payments to assist with installation and maintenance costs of sustainable energy systems until Phase 2 is rolled out.
The government has confirmed that those who have claimed this one off grant will still be eligible to apply for Renewable Heat Incentive payments. (more info on the Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs)
Who Doesn't Qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive?
There are some situations in which business owners (and homeowners, under Phase 2) are not eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive. For Phase 1 applicants, any system that was installed prior to 15th June 2009, or is not a completely new system will not qualify. In addition, biomass boilers using less than 90% pure bio fuel, any air source heat pumps, and solar collectors above 200 kW will not be eligible for payments.
Applicants may also be rejected if they have received any form of cash incentive, such as local authority grants or loans, which have been used directly towards the upfront cost of a sustainable energy generator. Businesses in Northern Ireland are currently not eligible, although the Northern Ireland government may choose to opt into the scheme in the future.
Phase 2 applicants will likely not qualify for payments based solely on wood burning fires or stoves as energy usage and expenditure has proven difficult to monitor accurately. Domestic residences used for business purposes, such as Bed & Breakfasts in which the owner lives, will not qualify for Phase 2, but may qualify for Phase 1.