RHI is put on hold

Published:  03 November, 2011

RHI, renewable energy

The launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive for non-domestic generators, due on 30 September has been delayed by the European Commission requiring a reduction in the large biomass tariff. The Department of Energy & Climate Change is working to change the regulations so that the scheme can be open before the end of November. The scheme as a whole cannot be launched until this process has been completed. The RHI is worth £860 million.

The biomass tariff of 2.7 p/kWh had been set to achieve a 12% annual rate of return.

Simon Allan, Plumb Center’s director of renewable, comments, ‘The effect on confidence within the market is critical. Installers are investing a lot of time and money in getting the correct MCS accreditation, so they have to be sure the prize isn’t going to be whisked away at the last moment, and companies manufacturing these products need to be sure the market isn’t going to disappear.’

The Heat Pump Association has reacted by urging the DECC to use the delay to reconsider the introduction of air-to-water heat pumps as the required EC changes will take time and require the entire scheme to be represented to Parliament for approval once again.

The DECC response to air-to-water heat pumps not yet being included is that modelling from the data supplied has not yet been completed, so no tariffs could be included. However, DECC comments, ‘We feel confident that we have sufficient data on commercial air-to-water heat pumps to present the option to ministers of including them under phase 2.’

The news about the RHI has also brought to light that solar air heating, of the kind delivered by SolarWall Europe’s transpired solar collector, is not included in the RHI because it is not considered to be renewable energy in the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

James Hollick, CEO of SolarWall Europe argues that solar PV and solar water-heating systems are considerably more expensive and produce less energy than solar air-heating systems. He says, ‘Viable solar air-heating system are being excluded in lieu of more expensive water-based heating systems because they are not on the “list” — stifling innovation and preventing the widespread uptake in solar heating.’

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