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The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a Government environmental programme that provides financial incentives to increase the uptake of renewable heat. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payment scheme has been available for non-domestic installations since November 2011 and provides payments based on metering of heat output for a twenty year period.

To date the Government (this and the last) has delayed its availability of the RHI for the domestic sector. This has been largely due to the need to gather sufficient evidence of successful implementations of the technologies in domestic installations. To provide a catalyst to the implementation of the RHI in the domestic sector the RHI Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme was introduced. RHPP provides a one-off payment to the home owner for installation of Heat Pumps, Biomass Boilers and Solar Thermal Systems. The scheme is limited to off gas grid installations and requires the homeowner to allow the installation of a data logging heat meter by the Energy Saving Trust, the administrators of this scheme. Phase two of RHPP ends on March 31st 2014 and we now expect the implementation of the full scheme to launch in April. This was re-affirmed by the Government in the Autumn Statement.

However, the announcements of its availability followed by delays and uncertainty have caused significant angst in the heating industry. Manufactures and installers alike have been trying to fathom the intricacies of the programme and the implications to the market place for some time. This has led to most of us becoming somewhat frustrated and disillusioned. This has not been helped by all the launch of the Green Deal which has completely overshadowed and masked the programme for the sector of the market that have the means to benefit most from the RHI. Hopefully we have now reached the end of that journey and can look forward to the real green shoots of growth for the renewables industry in the domestic sector.

Many installers are now offering heat pumps and biomass boilers and you only need look at heating firms van liveries to see this. What is lacking is the impetus for home owners to fully commit and the only way this will happen is with an effective programme of cash incentives to aid this. The final piece of the puzzle for installers is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme and the necessary training on the technologies. This is falling into place and there is now a real opportunity for installers to go after if they can find their way with help from the right plumbing and heating merchants.

In order for your customers to benefit from the domestic RHI scheme it is imperative that you are approved under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme or working with a company that can offer this on your behalf. Given that many early adopters of the MCS approved schemes became disenchanted after the delays, many have chosen not to renew their subscriptions and to remain in scheme. This is a shame now that finally the domestic RHI is about to launch. However, help is at hand. By partnering with the right organisation, installers can obtain the RHI payments for their customer and not lose out to firms that already have their own MCS approval. So don’t delay the opportunity to become involved with a new and exciting sector of our industry is just waiting around the corner.

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