Guide to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Under the government’s domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), you could receive quarterly cash payments for seven years if you install an air source heat pump, ground source heat pump or solar thermal heating system.

The amount you will receive will be based on the type of renewable heating technology you install, and the amount of clean, green renewable heat produced by your system.


What is the RHI? 

The domestic RHI was introduced in 2014 to provide financial support to homeowners and incentivise them to invest in renewable heat technologies with quarterly cash payments for 7 years.

It is the first incentive of its kind in the world and the UK Government expects the RHI to contribute towards the ambition of reaching 12% heating from renewables by 2020.


How much can I expect to receive? 

The payments you receive will change each year in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) and will depend on a range of factors, including; 

  • What type of heating system you install
  • The current tariff being offered by the government (see table below for current rates)
  • In some cases, metering (see table below for more information)


Recent increase in RHI payments for air source heat pumps 

In September 2017, the UK Government increased the RHI for air source heat pumps from 7.63/kWh to 10.18/kWh, returning over 33% more on tariff payments. 

This increase in real terms means that the subsidy is in many cases high enough to cover the cost of installing an air source heat pump in your home.


MCS Certification and criteria

To claim the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), you must meet certain criteria. Solarsense will lead you through the necessary procedures and ensure you meet all of the requirements needed before installation.

Solarsense are Micro Certification Scheme (MCS) certified installers. The company is highly accredited and has won numerous awards for their approach and customer service.


More information 

The information below provides an outline to the Renewable Heat Incentive and may help to answer any questions you have.

If you would like further clarification or to like to ask us a question, our team of experts are always on hand – simply call us on 01275 461 800 or fill out the form on our contact us page. 

The RHI covers renewable heat technologies including solar thermal, ground source, and air source heat pumps, all of which Solarsense are MCS accredited to install.

We will always advise on the most appropriate technology for your home and the one which will give you the greatest savings on your bills.

We've compiled the highlights of the various technologies below, but you may also want to watch this short video from Ofgem:

  • Solar thermal
    • Flat plate or evacuated tubes only
    • Used for domestic water heating
    • Room heating and swimming pool heating are not eligible
  • Ground-source heat pumps
    • Used for room heating, or room and hot water heating
    • Must use a compressor driven by electricity
    • Must use a liquid to provide room heating (ie a radiator)
    • Must have a minimum Seasonal Performance Factor of 2.5
  • Air-source heat pumps
    • Used for room heating, or room and hot water heating
    • Must use a compressor driven by electricity
    • Must use a liquid to provide room heating (ie a radiator)
    • Must have a minimum Seasonal Performance Factor of 2.5

While all of these technologies will save you money on your bills, you may find that one is better suited to your home or lifestyle than another. Our team of experts will advise you as to what will work best for you.

If you wanted to install two technologies, one to heat your water and another to heat your home, you would be able to make two applicatons to the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Current tariffs

Payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive will be made to system owners for seven years for every unit of energy produced.

The amounts paid (in pence) per generated unit of renewable heat are as follows:

Valid from 01.01.18 - 31.03.18

Technology type p/kWh
Solar thermal 20.06
Ground-source heat pumps 19.86
Air-source heat pumps 10.18


For most households, payments will be based on estimates, though some homeowners may need to install a meter (see do I need metering on the left).

Do the payments go down?
Once you join the RHI the payment rates you receive are secured. However the Government may reduce the tariffs made available to new applicants to the scheme over time. 

Green Deal Assessments

All RHI applicants will need to complete a Green Deal Assessment (GDA) before applying and ensure they meet minimum energy efficiency requirements of loft (250mm) and cavity wall insulation where appropriate.

You may be eligible from exception from the insulation requirement, for example if you live in a listed building or your home is in a conservation area. Full details are available from Ofgem but you will need a registered professional (i.e. a member of your local planning office, or a conservation officer) to complete an "Evidence for insulation exemption" letter explaining why your property is exempt.

If you already have a Green Deal Assessment of your property you will not need to get another one.

Do I need metering?

As a rule of thumb most homes joining the Renewable Heat Incentive won't need to install meters to receive payments, however, Solarsense will assess your property as part of your free, no obligation survey. 

As a guide, you may need metering if:

  • You have a back-up heating system at your home (an oil burner for example)
  • You have more than one renewable technology heating your home
  • Your home is only partially occupied
  • Your biomass boiler or stove doesn't heat your entire home


The Ofgem video below helps to explain the process further:

The applicaton process

To apply for the scheme you will need to complete the secure online application form available on the Ofgem website.

There are a number of pieces of information you will need before you start the application:

  • Your MCS certificate number for your renewable heating system
  • Your Green Deal advice report number (Unless you are a self-builder)
  • Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) number.
  • If you need metering (see Do I need metering? in the left menu) - the metering information supplied by your installer.


Our team of experts are always there to help, if you have any questions simply call 01275 461 800 or fill out the form on our contact us page.

Ofgem have compiled a document which gives the answers to most Frequently Asked Questions. You can dowload it here.

If there's anything that still remails unclear please get in touch and we will do our best to help.