Solar electricity taking off in the UK in recent years has highlighted an appetite for generating energy at home. With warm, comfortable homes and high bills being key concerns for householders, renewable heating technologies such as heat pumps, solar water heating and biomass are the next wave of green additions.
These technologies are not cheap to install, but the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which offers quarterly cash payments over seven years for generating low-carbon heat, improves the return on investment. The RHI makes the idea potentially even more attractive. This is similar to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) incentive that is paid for renewable electricity.
We recently saw some important changes to the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) including an increase in payments for most heating technologies.
But it’s important to make sure that a new, low-carbon heating system is really right for your home. And the first thing to remember is that every heat-generating system gives you more ‘bang for your buck’ if your home is well insulated before it is installed.
Your home will need a certain amount of insulation before applying for the RHI. To be eligible for the scheme, you’ll need a recent Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If the EPC recommends cavity wall insulation or loft insulation, you’ll need to install it first.
In general, it is better to take an ‘insulation first’ approach to making your home more sustainable. Generating energy should be the final consideration, after your home is well insulated – and this is especially important to gain all the comfort benefits a heating system can bring.
Which technology is right?
Then, there are a number of options to choose from, which generate heat in different ways and can play different roles: providing hot water, space heating, or both.
The wood-fuelled systems that are eligible for the incentive are biomass boilers and pellet stoves, these supply all your heating needs. Solar thermal panels will provide hot water. Heat pumps are good for heating your home and are especially at providing low temperature heat, like underfloor heating. but are not as efficient at heating water too.
You’ll need to check that the renewable technology is on the official Product Eligibility List (PEL). The list shows which renewable heating systems are eligible for the scheme.
Source: Energy Saving Trust