The long-awaited Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has officially launched today.

The scheme will help householders across the UK who install solar thermal, biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps benefit from generating renewable heat.  

The RHI tariff is paid on a quarterly basis for seven years and will be based on the estimated heat demand of the property in most cases. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is also offering an additional £230 per year for consumers who take out metering and monitoring support packages for heat pumps and £200 for biomass boilers.

The tariff levels have been set at:

  • Solar thermal: 19.2p/kWh (minimum)
  • Biomass boilers: 12.2p/kWh
  • Ground source heat pumps: 18.8p/kWh
  • Air source heat pumps: 7.3p/kWh  

The domestic RHI will be available to anyone who installed renewable heat technology and meets the RHI eligibility criteria from 15 July 2009.

The launch of the scheme was announced by the minister for climate change, Greg Barker, on Twitter with Ofgem accepting applications from 8am this morning.

Launching the scheme, Barker said: “This is the first scheme of its kind in the world – showing yet again that the UK is leading the way in the clean energy sector. Not only will people have warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills, they will reduce their carbon emissions, and will also get cash payments for installing these new technologies.

“It opens up a market for the supply chain, engineers and installers – generating growth and supporting jobs as part of our long-term economic plan.”

The scheme has been beset by numerous delays and is coming into force four years after the domestic arm of the renewable heat scheme was promised. Despite this, the renewables industry has warmly welcomed the scheme’s launch.

Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Association commented: “The industry is delighted the domestic RHI has finally launched and that the journey to cleaner home heating can now begin. Installing low carbon heating technologies into energy efficient homes is one of the most important ways of securing cheap, affordable, clean energy, and this world-first scheme is a very important start.”

Below is a video of Greg Barker introducing the domestic RHI: