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Changes to regulations for domestic RHI now in force

Rules about the sustainability of biomass fuel and the following changes to the regulations for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) came into force on 5 February 2015.

Cooker stoves
“Cooker stoves” are biomass stoves with a back boiler that are predominantly designed for space and hot water heating but can also be used for cooking. In these products the heat generated for cooking is incidental to, and cannot be controlled separately from, heat generated for space heating or hot water heating.

The regulations came into force on 5 February making “cooker stoves” eligible for the domestic RHI, as long as the product and installation meets all other scheme requirements (further detail about other scheme requirements can be found in Ofgem’s Essential Guide for Applicants).

This change does not affect range cookers more widely; products designed for cooking will still be ineligible for the domestic RHI scheme, except where they meet the criteria of a “cooker stove”.

If you have a “cooker stove” that was installed before 5 February 2015, including installations before the 9 April 2014, you will have until 31 July 2015 or 12 months after the date your heating system was fully installed and tested (whichever is later), to apply for the RHI.

High Temperature Heat Pumps
High temperature heat pumps are a development of existing air source heat pump technology. High temperature heat pumps can operate at temperatures as high as 80°C and can be suitable for use in properties where it is not appropriate to change the radiators or use under-floor heating.

The regulations came into force on 5 February 2015 making high temperature heat pumps eligible for the domestic RHI, as long as the product and installation meet all other scheme requirements, including the minimum efficiency levels represented by a Seasonal Performance Factor of 2.5.

Changes to the MCS Heat Emitter Guide mean that high temperature heat pumps installed from 21 November 2014 may now be eligible for the Domestic RHI. You may only have a short window to apply for the RHI, as the deadline for application will still be 12 months from your systems commissioning date, there will be no extension for “legacy” installations.

Properties made up of multiple buildings
The regulations have been clarified to make it clear that heating systems that provide heat to properties with more than one building can be eligible for the domestic RHI.

Examples of systems providing heat to multiple buildings that would be eligible include:

  • A dwelling plus swimming pool in annex
  • A dwelling plus garage or outbuilding
  • A dwelling plus shed
  • A dwelling plus a commercially used building e.g. an office annex or stables

RHI payments continue to be based on the heat demand on the dwelling’s Energy Performance Certificate, as heat going to the ancillary buildings is not eligible for RHI payments.

This payment method means that in the final example, where the other building has a commercial use and the system is therefore also eligible for the non-domestic RHI, the owner might find it better to apply for the non-domestic RHI.

If the heating system provides heating for multiple dwellings (i.e. a district or community heating system) the system is eligible for the non-domestic RHI rather than the domestic RHI.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme standards
The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has published updated installation standards for heat pumps (MIS 3005) and solar thermal (MIS 3001) and an updated Heat Emitter Guide (MCS 021). These standards are referenced in the RHI regulations and we have updated the regulations to refer to the new standards.

There is a transition period for the MCS standards and if your heating system is installed in that period it can be certified to either the old or the updated standard.

You still have 12 months from commissioning of your heating system to apply for the scheme.

Registered Social Landlords and Green Deal Assessments
Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) can now apply for the domestic RHI without a Green Deal Assessment. They still need to have an Energy Performance Certificate that is less than two years old so that RHI payments can be calculated.

Biomass sustainability rules
The long awaited Biomass sustainability RHI regulations also came into force on 5 February 2015. They mean that RHI participants must meet the sustainability requirements from 5 October 2015.

This gives you eight months to fully understand the requirement and how to demonstrate compliance, and for suppliers on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) to ensure they have the necessary supply chain evidence in place to demonstrate they meet the land use criteria. A detailed information sheet for biomass customers is available here.

In addition to these biomass sustainability requirements, participants on the non-domestic RHI will still need to ensure that the fuel used is in line with their RHI emission certificate for their installation, including ensuring that the moisture content does not exceed the maximum moisture content specified.

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We supply and install a wide range of biomass boilers, biomass stoves, air source heat pumps and solar systems from manufacturers including:
ETAFrolingMCZ HeatingEco AngusGrantNordica Extra FlameVaillantPanasonic
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