New rates and technologies for non-domestic RHI

Financial support for renewable heat for commercial and industrial projects has received a boost with the announcement of revised tariffs and support for more technologies. Commercial air-source heat pumps now qualify for RHI payments, and there has also been a substantial increase in the Renewable Heat Incentive budget for small and medium biomass, reducing the prospect of tariffs for such projects being gradually lowered. The changes come into effect in the spring of 2014.

The Heat Pump Association has welcomed the inclusion of air-to-water heat pumps into the non-domestic RHI — at a rate of 2.5 p/kWh. HPA president Tony Bowen said, ‘The combined impact of revised tariffs for ground-source heat pumps [up to an average of 7.2 p/kWh] and the long-awaited addition of air-to-water heat pumps promises to have a very significant effect on the adoption of these technologies and the achievement of the goals of the RHI policy.’

The tariff for solar thermal up to 200 kW has been increased from 9.2 to a range of 10 to 11.3 p/kWh.

Large biomass boilers of 1 MW and above will see the tariff double to 2 p/kWh. There will be no change for smaller biomass boilers.

Speaking for the Renewable Energy Association, chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said, ‘Mixed messages from Government have unnerved many in the renewables sector lately, so the RHI announcement gives a timely boost to the green economy. There is still room for improvement, but what RHI needs most now is to be left alone for a while so the market can develop without fear of further changes.’

The Solar Trade Association has welcomed the 5% increase in the solar-thermal tariff. However, Stuart Elmes, chair of the solar thermal working group, comments, ‘It’s disappointing the so-called “value-for-money cap” was not adjusted to boost the domestic tariff above the original 19.2 p.’ The STA estimates that the costs of installing solar hot-water systems could fall by as much as 30% as the market expands to catch up with solar PV.’

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