How installers can tap into the renewable rewards of air source heat pumps

Richard Paine, Product Manager for Domestic Heating and Renewables at Daikin UK, discusses the reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive and how installers, with the support and tools offered by leading manufacturers, can reap the rewards of renewable air source heat pump technology.

The long awaited reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) were announced in December 2016 with the changes expected to be implemented later this year. Widely welcomed by the heating industry, revisions made to the RHI ensure it effectively addresses long-term decarbonisation while offering value for money for consumers of renewable heating. The reforms also support supply chain growth, challenging the market to deliver.

Air source heat pumps are particularly favoured by the updated incentive as the consultation response states that ‘efficient heat pumps can deliver bill savings to consumers now and into the future’.

The revised scheme raises the air source heat pump RHI tariff by 35%, from 7.51 p/kWh to 10.18 p/kWh (adjusted for inflation and applicable from the introduction of the revised regulations). Following the changes coming into force to all homeowners who submit an RHI application after the 14th December 2016, the new tariff will significantly increase the amount of renewable funding that homeowners are entitled to.

To focus on the less able to pay and support as many installations of renewable heating technology as possible, the reform restricts RHI payments to a single property and caps air source heat pump RHI payments at 20,000 kWh.

In addition, the updated incentive also requires all air source heat pumps to incorporate electric metering to monitor the system’s energy use. Similar to a smart meter, electric metering will provide homeowners with access to data that will enable them to monitor and adjust their energy use to further reduce their heating bills.

A limited-time opportunity, installations made prior to the implementation of the reforms do not require electric metering and are not subject to the heat limit for large properties but will be eligible for the increased tariff. Customers with larger properties considering an air source heat pump should therefore make a decision ahead of the incoming changes to ensure they can claim the maximum RHI for their property.

Clearly supporting the growth of the air source heat pump sector, the reforms present a clear and exciting opportunity for installers. However, to reap the benefits of the expected upsurge in heat pump installations, installers should turn to leading manufacturers for support and guidance.

Product specific manufacturer led training sessions provide best practice support for installers looking to increase their product portfolio. However, keeping up to date with legislation, evolving technology and industry best practice can be a costly exercise. Offering a host of tangible benefits, free-to-join manufacturer installer clubs, such as Daikin UK’s KEY installer scheme provide free product training sessions and marketing materials as well as extended product warranties to support the growth of individual businesses.

Furthermore, vital time saving tools available from Daikin UK ensure it is as simple and easy as possible to comply with MCS. Online tools that can be accessed onsite include a heat loss calculator, emitter sizing tool and product selection software.

When discussing the benefits of heat pump technology with a customer, demonstrating the value that air source heat pumps can offer with regards to reduced heating bills and RHI funding is essential. To ensure that this is as straightforward as possible, the Daikin UK website also hosts detailed selection software and a RHI calculator, which has been updated to the new tariff for all new RHI applications and provides PDF reports for each property.

In addition, by partnering with leading manufacturers, MCS accredited installers can offer their services to heating installers without MCS accreditation, to ensure their customers do not miss out on the RHI eligibility.

Expected to catalyse the growth of the sector and supply chain, the updated RHI will increase consumer demand for air source heat pump technology. By seeking advice from Daikin UK, installers can gain technical insight, guidance and essential time saving tools to ensure the business benefits of the RHI are realised.