What’s the incentive?

With the Renewable Heat Incentive set to come into play in October this year, the RHI Premium Payment scheme is now available to those wishing to take advantage of the scheme in the interim period, Neil Schofield, head of external and governmental affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, gives an insight into how the scheme can be accessed, as well as the advantages it offers to those with an eye on renewable technologies.

 Like the highly popular Boiler Scrappage Scheme, the RHI Premium Payment scheme offers a one-off sum for those installing solar thermal, biomass or heat pump technology. Claims need to be made to the Energy Savings Trust by the end of March 2012 and will be issued on a first come, first served basis with a set period to cash it in. With £15 million set aside for this, it is expected that around 25,000 homes will be able to benefit from the grants.

All properties can benefit from the one-off grant towards solar thermal panels to provide hot water for the home. Yet for other technologies, emphasis has very much been placed on the 4 million households in the UK not on mains gas, to help reduce reliance on higher carbon forms of heating.

The one-off voucher payments available are as follows:

  • £300 towards a solar thermal hot water system (for homes both on and off-mains gas)   
  • £850 towards an air source heat pump (for those with off-mains gas heating only)
  • £950 towards a biomass boiler (for those with off-mains gas heating only)
  • £1,250 towards ground source heat pump installations (for those with off-mains gas heating only)

However, those wishing to take advantage of the scheme will need to ensure their homes have basic energy efficiency measures in place before applying. So make sure loft and wall insulation are up to standard before starting on the process. 

More good news is that it is not a choice between the full RHI and the Premium Payment. Homeowners opting for the Premium Payment and installing the technology in the first instance could also be eligible for the full RHI when it is available, as long as they meet the criteria of the scheme when it is introduced. 

Those who opt for the Premium Payment will also be asked to give feedback on their experience through a number of surveys to give the government a better understanding of renewable technologies, the saving that can be made and the real energy use figures being found.


For those interested in taking advantage of the improvements a renewable heating system can offer, solar thermal technology can be installed alongside a condensing boiler to maximise both energy efficiency and value for money. By converting energy from the sun into useable heat, a well-sized solar system can provide up to 60% of a home’s annual hot water requirements.

With a range of intelligent solar thermal systems now available, homeowners can use solar thermal panels as a primary source of hot water, with their boiler only called upon to top-up the hot water supply when required. This subsequently reduces the demand for fuel, which has a significant impact on domestic energy costs.

It is now advisable for those homeowners with an eye on renewable technologies to future proof their domestic heating system by investing in a modern twin-coil hot water cylinder, which ensures that the benefits of solar thermal panels can be taken up in years to come.”