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RHPP to double

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The Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) is to double for homeowners, the government has announced.

Increasing the grant levels will come as a welcome boost to the renewable heating industry following the disappointment of continued delays to the domestic RHI.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has bowed to strong calls from within industry to make the RHPP more generous in order to support the market as a stopgap until the RHI takes over next summer.

Also announced is a new rule that all future recipients of the RHPP must undergo a Green Deal assessment to qualify – a process which will typically cost homeowners £100-£150.

Therefore, payments for ground source heat pumps will nearly double from £1,250 to £2,300 whilst those who install air source heat pumps will now receive £1,300, up from £850. Biomass support has increased from £950 t0 £2,000 and solar thermal £300 to £600.

STA ceo, Paul Barwell, said: “It’s great to see that government has reacted so positively to our suggestions on how to speed up development of the renewable heating sector.  The STA led the industry campaign urging government to consider this proposal and is delighted to see that ministers have listened to our calls.

“However, there’s still work to be done. We will continue to make the case for our industry, in particular over the capped tariff for solar heating. It is very important that this summer’s announcement of domestic RHI tariffs should be comprehensive in scope and also specify the qualification criteria and deeming method.”

REA chief executive, Gaynor Hartnell, said: “It’s welcome that these grants are being continued and the levels increased.  They need to stay in place until the proper heat payment scheme for householders commences.  This has been delayed on a number of occasions and we hope this will be the last time this stop-gap measure is needed.”

“There’s £12 million of savings up for grabs so we hope householders, encouraged by installers, will make the most of the scheme and make the switch to renewables.”

Tim Pollard, Plumb Center‘s head of sustainability: “The latest RHPP news is great. Many people in the industry were upset with the delay of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), but today’s announcement is a welcome boost.

“Offering money off vouchers for renewable systems like biomass, solar thermal and ground source and air source heat pumps is a good idea. The RHPP makes renewables more affordable, and it should encourage people to get rid of their old, inefficient boilers and replace them with the latest, sustainable heating systems.

“The fact that the RHPP payments have almost doubled is really encouraging, and shows the government is putting its money where its mouth in when it comes to renewables.

“At Plumb Center we’re big supporters of the Green Deal, and now people need a Green Deal assessment to qualify for the RHPP payments, there are even more opportunities for our customers.”

Simon Lomax, Kensa’s managing director: “DECC’s decision to increase the RH PP grants to reward renewable heat installations is welcome news, although householders will only really be able to invest with confidence once Government has made clear how these grants will affect future entitlement to the flagship Renewable Heat Incentive.  According to DECC, further RHI policy details will only be published this summer, which means there may still be some short-term reluctance to specify heat pumps.”

Tim Minett, chief executive of biomass supplier CPL Distribution: “The decision to increase the value of money-off vouchers under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) will be welcomed by householders looking to switch to renewable heating systems.

“Nearly a fifth of the UK’s housing stock is not connected to the gas grid and householders in these rural areas are often reliant on heating oil which is expensive and has high carbon emissions. For people seeking a more sustainable alternative for their heating, biomass boilers are a logical choice as they are extremely simple to retrofit to properties.

“The news that householders can now receive £2,000 towards the cost of a biomass boiler, more than double what was available previously, is positive but the real value for homeowners will lie in the annual tariff available when the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) kicks in next spring. In financial terms, this is likely to far outweigh the Premium Payment voucher and we look forward to clarification later this year of the exact rates that householders will be able to access.

“We are pleased that the government has recognised the need for increased financial support for biomass and look forward to seeing a similar approach taken to the non-domestic RHI tariff rates to breathe much needed life into the renewable heating market.”

Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council: These new voucher levels are a welcome boost for an industry which has, in some sectors, seen dramatic drops in sales. This market uncertainty followed a series of delays to the long term incentive scheme and the threatened watering-down of the carbon emission requirements for new build homes. Today’s announcement provides a welcome signal that the government will continue to support householders wishing to install renewable heating systems. We encourage government strongly to build on this by confirming it will now press ahead with ambitious plans to move to half-way to zero carbon homes in new build, and to publish its proposed details for the long term incentive scheme as soon as possible.”

Lu Rahman, editor REI: “The news that the RHPP is set to double must be seen as a positive move for the sector. And with the link to the Green Deal, increased awareness of this flagship scheme should help build take-up numbers which of course, is good news for the renewables and energy efficiency markets. Installers in these sectors have been working hard in anticipation of the business growth they would experience through the RHI and the Green Deal. With the delay to the RHI recently announced and the Green Deal off to a slow start, this RHPP announcement is a welcome step in the right direction.”