Current affairs

By guest columnist Bill Wright, head of energy solutions, Electrical Contractors’ Association

It looks like the domestic RHI has arrived at last. The regulations have been laid before parliament and they just need to be debated and passed and the scheme comes into being. It differs from the non domestic RHI, which originally got off to a slow start, in that in most cases metering is not required. Metering can be installed for which extra payments will be made but is only necessary if the building the heating system in installed in is not occupied for over six months of the year, i.e. a second home. It is also required if the building has another heating system installed such as an oil-fired boiler.

The domestic RHI scheme applies to systems which were commissioned after July 15 2009 and have an MCS certificate. The house must have an EPC certificate and also a Green Deal Report produced, and as a minimum loft or cavity wall insulation installed if it is recommended in the Green Deal Report. If nothing else the domestic RHI will increase the number of assessments carried out and potentially the number of Green Deals initiated, which I am sure was part of the plan to push the Green Deal. This will increase the administration burden but the effort will be worth it if the application goes through smoothly and payments start, guaranteed for seven years. This should increase the numbers of biomass boilers and both ground and air source heat pumps installed. Contractors should gear up for the potentially large market for these heating systems and promote them to their clients. Lessons have been learnt from the non-domestic scheme so the domestic RHI should get off to a good start.