Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

A government scheme designed to help customers introduce renewable heating systems in their homes

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme?

The Renewable Heat Incentive is part of the government's bid to reduce the UK's carbon emissions, and meet its renewable energy targets.

The scheme offers a financial incentive to replace oil and gas central heating systems with renewable heating systems. Basically, you get money for the energy your renewable system generates for a period of seven years.

Couple in a warm home

Who qualifies for the Renewable Heat Incentive Domestic scheme?

You might qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme for homes if:

  • you generate heat from a renewable source
  • your renewable heating system serves a single household


Homeowners, tenants, and social and private landlords can apply – as can people building their own home. It's open to people living in England, Scotland or Wales, but not Northern Ireland or the Channel Islands.

What type of renewable heating systems are eligible?

You might be able to get RHI payments if you have one of the renewable heating systems below.

ground source heat pump illustration

Ground source heat pumps

Heat from the ground is absorbed into fluid-filled pipes buried in your garden. The fluid then passes through a compressor to raise its temperature, so it's ready to heat your home and hot water.

The ground pipes can either be laid horizontally or vertically, depending on the space you have.

 

biomass wood burner

biomass systems

Biomass heating systems – also known as wood-fuelled heating systems – burn logs, pellets or chips.

You can either have a biomass boiler that is connected to the central heating system, so it heats your entire home and hot water.

Or you can have a biomass stove, which heats a single room. Your stove must burn wood pellets to get RHI payments – log-burning stoves aren't eligible.

modern house with solar panels

Solar thermal systems

Solar thermal systems – also known as solar water heating systems – use the heat from the sun to warm your hot water.

Solar panels attached to your roof collect the heat from the sun. This energy heats your water, which is stored in a hot-water cylinder.

You'll need a conventional boiler or immersion heater to make your water hotter over winter.

How much are RHI payments?

If you join the RHI scheme – and stick to the rules (see below) – you’ll get paid for the amount of renewable heat your system produces. The payments will be made four times a year over seven years.

The payments you receive will also be determined by the type of renewable system you have.

You can use one of the government's Renewable Heat Incentive Calculators to find out how much money you could get through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

There is a RHI calculator for England and Wales, and one for the Renewable Heat Incentive Scotland.

You're also likely to have more money in your pocket through the savings you make on your energy bill. After all, you'll be generating some of your own energy once your renewable heating technology is installed.

 

What are RHI tariffs?

Your RHI tariff sets the amount you get paid for the energy you produce. It's based on the type of renewable heating you have, as well as other factors.

Your tariff rate is updated every April by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). This is done to keep it in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) or Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

 

What rules do you have to follow to get RHI payments?

  • You'll need a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate for your heating system (check the MCS product directory for RHI air source heat pumps, RHI biomass boilers and stoves, and other eligible products).
  • You'll need a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which is less than 24 months old when you submit your application. The Landmark Register (England and Wales) or Scottish EPC Register will tell you if you have an EPC. If your EPC recommends you install loft and/or cavity wall insulation, you'll need to do so before applying to the RHI scheme. Find out about home insulation grants.
  • You need to make your RHI application within 12 months of your first renewable heating system being switched on. You'll find this 'commissioning date' on your MCS certificate).
  • If you have a biomass system, you'll need an RHI Emission Certificate for your biomass system (check the RHI ECLIST for eligible products).


Once you've been accepted onto the RHI scheme, there are ongoing obligations you need to meet to get your full RHI payments.

For example, you'll need to keep your heating system in good working order; declare any time your heating system breaks down; and use certified fuel with a biomass system.

ofgem website screenshot

How do you apply for RHI payments?

You can apply to join the RHI scheme through Ofgem, the government regulator for gas and electricity markets. You can sometimes get an immediate decision!

Before you start your application, you'll need:

  • your MCS certificate number
  • your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) number
  • personal information and bank details


Ofgem has produced an application help sheet that will guide you through the RHI application.

Do I need to install a new meter to get onto the RHI scheme?

Some people on the Domestic RHI scheme will need to install meters that monitor the performance and/or output of their renewable heating system.

Signing up to a Metering and Monitoring Service Package (MMSP) will help you fulfil both these requirements.

And the good news is that if you successfully apply for MMSP at the same time as the Domestic RHI scheme, you'll get a lump sum payment – and regular MMSP payments every three months for seven years.

Read more in Ofgem's Essential Guide to MMSP.

Metering performance

You'll need a meter to measure the performance of your renewable heating system if you have an air or ground source heat pump (it's a rule that came into place for new applicants in 2018).

You'll need a meter, or combination of meters, to record and display the amount of electricity used by:

  • your heat pump to generate heat
  • any other electric heater controlled by the same control system as your heat pump
  • any domestic hot water cylinder's immersion heater that's controlled by the same control system as your heat pump.
heat meter on radiator being checked by an engineer

Metering for payment

If your RHI payments are to be based on the actual amount of heat your system produces – rather than an estimate – you'll need a heat meter installed.

The most common situation that need you to meter for payments are:

  • you have ‘back-up heating’
  • your biomass heating system doesn't heat your whole home
  • your home is empty for more than half the year.

The list doesn't cover all situations – read Ofgem's Essential Guide to Metering for more information.

local businesses on a street

Is there an RHI scheme for business properties?

The Renewable Heat Incentive Non-Domestic scheme provides a financial incentive for renewable heating systems in commercial, public and industrial premises.

Can I get a grant to purchase and install a renewable heating system?

What other help is available to buy a renewable heating system?

Assignment of Rights

You can link up with an investor who's willing to help fund the purchase and/or installation of a renewable heating system – in return for the rights to your RHI payments.

This is known as the 'Assignment of Rights’ scheme. It is run by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

You can read the government's Essential Guide to Assignment of Rights to find out more, including how to apply.

 

Home Energy Scotland loan

Homeowners in Scotland can get an interest-free loan from the Scottish Government to pay the upfront cost of renewable heating systems – as well as other energy-efficiency home improvements.

Find out more about the Home Energy Scotland loan