The government is hoping to support up to 16,000 solar thermal systems in the first year of the new domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme due to launch later this year.

Speaking at the first of the 2014 Solar Energy UK roadshows today, Steve Roberts, part of the RHI team at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said this was the target figure for the long-awaited scheme’s first year, with more expected the following year.

The 2014 Solar Energy UK roadshows kicked off today in Esher, Surrey, beginning the annual event’s six-venue tour of the UK.

Under the theme of ‘cutting costs, boosting profits’, delegates heard presentations on the UK’s PV and burgeoning renewable heat industries and what can be expected from each market this year.

Speakers included the Solar Trade Association’s Ray Noble, Rexel managing director, Jerry Hamilton, and Viridian chief executive, Stuart Elmes.

In his presentation on the RHI, Roberts said the initiative had been given state aid approval by the European Commission and would be getting underway as soon as a few final details have been resolved.

The RHI for solar thermal has been set at 19.2p/kWh; the scheme is expected to be launched in the spring.

After Surrey, the roadshow will be visiting Taunton Somerset, then moving on to Huntingdon Racecourse in Cambridgeshire, Salford City Stadium, Thirsk Racecourse, Yorkshire, and Musselburgh Racecourse in Edinburgh over this week and next.

Registration is still open. Further information is available here.