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The Renewable Heat Incentive in listed properties

Although (as at Spring 2010) we are in a state of flux politically, the Government has published detailed consultation proposals for the world's first Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which will pay people for the heat they generate themselves. The basic sums of the subsidy are higher than the industry actually expected – meaning that the take up rate will probably be excellent. However, it is worth bearing in mind that not all technologies are suitable for listed properties.

Make sure that the system you install is fit for purpose and that any backup system is not in fact heating the property: in other words, when installing a heat pump make sure you understand the claims made by the manufacturers. The co-efficiency of the performance (COP) of the equipment and any seasonal capabilities will vary considerably and will substantially influence the running costs.

Although the structure of the scheme has yet to be finalised, the Tariff lifetime has been published for periods stretching from a minimum of 15 years up to 23 years on condition that they are installed by accredited installers using the Microgeneration certification scheme (MCS). The scheme is due to begin in April 2011 and is expected to lead to a rapid increase in the number of listed properties heated by heat pumps, biogas, wood-fuel, solar thermal and also waste-to-energy technologies.

For many listed properties, the energy costs are a huge dent in the budget. The listed property sector has very high energy demands for both heating and hot water generation. Efficiency gains from an investment in renewable sources will therefore be considerable through systems such as Ground Source Heat Pumps that have a constant output at low cost of installation. The RHI offers long-term, fixed payments based on the type of installation used.

For example, a 4-bedroomed house with a 20kWh energy demand with an electrical input of 5 kW and a Ground Source Heat Pump output of 15kW will realise a return of over £1050 per year – over 23 years this will net £24,150! The Tariff level for an Air Source Heat Pump is a little higher at 7.5 pence for every unit of energy harvested from the environment. The Government hopes that the RHI will give the industry confidence to expand and to make these technologies more affordable for all types of hearting requirements.

It is a nice thought though that listed properties, not usually renowned for their innovation, are leading the way for this initiative. A nice warm feeling indeed!

Posted on 6th May, 2010