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How is RHI changing?

March 21, 2016 featured image

If you have been following the headlines in the trade press in 2016 you may have noticed that the rules around financial incentives for installing renewable heating technologies are changing.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is still going, it has not disappeared as some would have you believe, and it’s still there to reward home owners for switching to a sustainable heating system.

Because the landscape is constantly changing it is important to advise your customers to think carefully about the technology they choose. Ground and air source heat pumps are proving particularly popular with home owners at present.

Biomass has also proven to be a popular choice but with new tariff announcements predicted to reduce the amount of payback on offer for Biomass boilers it may be better to invest in them sooner rather than later.


It has been announced that there will be a first wave of scheme changes in April 2016 and further, more significant changes coming in April 2017. Because a lot of these installations are part of self-build or renovation projects, which can have lengthy lead times, it pays to plan for the future.

Self-builders are among those who will benefit from changes due to come into effect around Easter time. Previously, self-builders had to wait 6 months before they could apply to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme which rewards switching. From March 24th 2016 they can apply as soon as they move in.

It has also be confirmed that there will be no tariff changes for domestic RHI technologies between now (March 2016) until July 2016 with any changes to be announced by the end of April this year.

Scheme applicants will no longer need a Green Deal Assessment to be eligible for RHI after March 24th but minimum levels of insulation will still be required, as will an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as this calculates the deemed heat requirement for the property, which is used to calculate RHI payments.

The Future

Current predictions are that domestic RHI tariffs may go up in April 2017 for ground and air source heat pumps. This is just one of a number of scheme changes the government is consulting on at present.

Rule changes are expected to make it easier for those less able to pay with the introduction of what’s called “assignment of rights to payments” to allow third part funding to be developed. Homeowners would assign their RHI payments to a third party who funds the installation.

While someone taking advantage of this would not benefit from any surplus over and above the cost of installation they would have a cost effective heating system for the long term.

A cap on heat demand is also likely. This means that there will be a limit on how much RHI those with bigger houses and higher heat demands can receive.

Solar Out in 2017

While all of the above is positive there is some bad news. From April 2017 Solar Thermal will no longer be an eligible technology for RHI payments.

Installers should advise anyone interested in Solar Thermal technology to install it in the short term to secure seven years of payments for free hot water and consider waiting for new, higher tariffs before installing a ground or air source heat pump.


Get the right training

If you are interested in installing Renewable technologies Logic4training offers a number of training courses including ground and air source heat pumps and solar.

Click Here for Renewable training courses

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