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Renewable energy sources, like heat pumps and solar thermal, play an important role in reducing the country’s carbon emissions. Not only does installing a renewable energy source help to reduce your carbon emissions and environmental impact, it also allows for potential savings on fuel bills. To encourage uptake of renewables, the government introduced the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI).

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (RHI)?

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is a government scheme that helps eligible households to offset the installation cost of renewable energy sources. Installing a renewable system costs more upfront than a traditional fossil fuel boiler, so the scheme is designed to promote the installation of technologies such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal energy. As a result, renewables are more accessible and affordable for homeowners and emissions are reduced in line with the government’s environmental goals.

The RHI offers quarterly payments to homeowners over a seven-year period, based on estimates of the property’s annual heating consumption and the amount of green energy produced. The RHI scheme is available for homeowners installing eligible renewable systems in both new build and retrofit properties, with or without access to mains gas.
Cost of renewable heating

RHI Payments

The below table compares potential RHI payments for air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal.

RHI Payments
Solar Thermal
RHI Tariff payment pence / kWh
Annual payment £1,000 £2,200 £270
Possible RHI payments over 7 years using Nu-Heat renewable technologies*
*An average three-bed house using 15,000kWh of heating per year with a SPF of 3.4 on GSHP and 2.7 on ASHP. Solar thermal based on an average four-person household and modest overshading of 4m² of panels on a 30° south facing roof generating 1278kWh of heat. November 2020.

You may have also heard about the Green Homes Grant which can be used in conjunction with the RHI scheme. The Green Homes Grant has been developed to help homeowners cover the initial costs of energy efficient and low carbon home improvements. If using the Green Homes Grant for a renewable technology, your RHI payments will be reduced by the voucher amount.

Air Source Heat Pump Grants

Air source heat pumps collect energy from the air, even when it’s cold outside. As a renewable heat source, they produce very little carbon emissions in comparison to a boiler, and can also be cheaper to run than traditional heating systems.

Costs start at around £6000 with a similar amount being paid back over 7 years with the RHI payments.

Browse the running costs of air source heat pumps in comparison to other energy sources.

NIBE Air Source Heat Pump with Underfloor Heating

Ground Source Heat Pump Grants

Much like air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps are a low-carbon, renewable alternative to heating your home. Rather than extracting energy from the air, they extract it from the ground. They are incredibly efficient, operating at up to 400% efficiency. A GSHP will cost more to install than an air source heat pump as excavation work is required for the ground loops, but the increased RHI payments of around £15,000 reflect this, helping to counteract the overall cost.

Browse the running costs of ground source heat pumps in comparison to other energy sources.

NIBE Ground Source Heat Pump

Solar Thermal Grants

Solar thermal harvests heat from the sun, via solar panels, to produce a property’s hot water. It can produce up to 60% of the average home’s hot water during the year and up to 100% during summer.

Solar panels cost little to install, suit all types of property and you can still benefit from RHI payments of around £2000.

Nu-Heat Solar Thermal

Eligibility for the RHI Scheme

In order to be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the property and renewable system must meet certain criteria:

  • The product itself, whether a heat pump or a solar thermal system, must be approved under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
  • The installation of the system must also adhere to strict MCS guidelines.

This ensures that the renewable system is installed to a high standard and operates efficiently.

RHI Support

RHI Support

Whether you’re a homeowner hoping to receive payments, or a heating engineer wanting to install a compliant system, we can help you to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive:

  • Nu-Heat’s heat pump and solar thermal range is MCS approved, meaning they are eligible for the RHI.
  • We also provide commissioning support to ensure the system is installed to MCS standards and the relevant paperwork is completed. Commissioning packages are available for both MCS and non-MCS accredited installers.

Looking for some advice?

We’re here to help you with your renewables project.

Helpful links

For more information read our blog post on the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. Ofgem and gov.uk also provide a range of useful materials to help you apply for and find out more about the RHI scheme: