RHI (renewable heat incentive) is an incentive paid by the government to encourage people to install renewable forms of heating. This covers ground source heat pumps (like the one that we have installed) and the incentives are intended to enable users to recoup the upfront investment involved in installing the systems. The incentives are calculated on a 7 year repayment period.
RHI is covered in depth elsewhere on this blog, but today we managed to submit our application. The process is all online and administered by Ofgem. You will need to have your MCS registration number (your installer should provide you with this), your EPC reference number and your GDA (Green Deal Assessment) number. Other than that, you just have to answer a few simple questions. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes to fill in the online form. Now it is just a matter of waiting for the application to be reviewed.
Although the application process opened in April, it has taken us a few weeks to sort out the EPC. The RHI payments are based on the heating requirements calculated as part of the EPC. I haven’t really paid that much attention to EPCs before (you need one if buying or selling a house), but when a payment depends on it, it gets a lot more attention.
We had a problem that the first couple of EPCs that were done bore little resemblance to the original calculations before by the system installer. The original estimates were that the annual heating and hot water demand would be in the region of 50,000kWh. The first two EPCs were in the region of 30,000kWh. The current RHI payment is 18.9p for every kWh generated, so a 20,000kWh difference equates to around £3,780 per year, or £26,460 over the 7 year payback period!
The main problem with the first two EPCs seem to be the unique nature of our property – some areas are double height, some parts of internal insulation on the original solid stone walls, even the heat pump itself seem to cause some head scratching. The first assessor failed to produce an EPC at all! He did the initial visit, asked lots of questions and then we never heard from him again. The second assessor did his best, but our property didn’t neatly fall into many of the boxes that needed to be ticked.
Eventually, on the third attempt, we got an EPC assessment that was close to the original heat calculations. The annual heat demand is still below the original calculations, but it is close enough. The RHI application was submitted this morning and with any luck we should hear in the next week or so.