UK Domestic Renewable Heat Update – April 2015

The latest data available for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive covers the period from the launch of the scheme on April 9th 2014 to the end of March 2015.

Biomass installations have recovered from a slump in January and February as tariff reductions due in April saw a rush to install before the end of March. Changes in the tariff rate have had a very clear impact on biomass installations over the last few months with installations showing clear peaks as tariff reductions approach. Air source heat pumps also had a strong month in March with installations nearly doubling to a record 775. In fact, March was a record month for every individual technology with each achieving higher installation numbers than any month since the scheme began last April.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) is a UK Government scheme to encourage the use of renewable heating technologies. Under the scheme, householders receive quarterly payments for a period of 7 years based on the amount of renewable heat their system produces. The latest figures show record growth for UK domestic renewable heat installations in March.

Domestic RHI GrowthNew Domestic Installations by Technology

Key Points From March 2015

Legacy Applications Continue to Dominate

The Domestic RHI has had 36,707 applications. Legacy applications account for 69.63% (25,558) of applications to date. Only 30.37% (11,149) of applications are for “new” installations, ie those that took place since the launch of the scheme. It is new applications that give us an indication of current activity in the renewable heat market and that we consider mostly in this update. The deadline for legacy applications was midnight on April 8th 2015.

March a Record Month for All Technologies

March saw more installations under the Domestic RHI than any previous month in the scheme. Although the 2,926 installations in March were dominated by 1,797 biomass installations there is good news for all technologies. All four Domestic RHI technologies had their best month since the launch of the scheme, with records set for each technology.

New Domestic Installations Month on Month Growth

Biomass Hits Another Peak

Biomass Source Heat Pump Installation GrowthSeasonality combined with a drop in tariffs and a huge contraction of demand into the end of 2014 led to sluggish installation numbers for biomass in January and February. March saw biomass installation numbers roar back. With a tariff reduction due, the rush to install before the end of March led to 1,797 new biomass installations.

Air Source Heat Pumps See Record Growth, Again

Air Source Heat Pump Installation GrowthMonthly air source heat pump installations grew to 775 in the March. February had been a record month with 402 new installations. That’s a 92% increase month on month and a 92% increase on the previous record month. Although biomass has put up very big numbers in March, air source heat pumps continue to have their own success story to tell.

Ground Source Continues Slow and Steady Growth

Ground Source Heat Pump Installation GrowthIf this was the story of the hare and the tortoise then ground source heat pumps would be the tortoise. Ground source started slowly under the Domestic RHI and has continued to grow slowly ever since. At this stage it remains the only technology to have shown increased monthly installs in every single month. We all know who won the race between the hare and the tortoise. Ground source installation numbers remain small but the consistent, dogged growth is impressive.

Solar Thermal Installation Numbers Return to Growth

Solar Thermal Installation GrowthAfter falling for 4 months in a row, the number of new solar thermal installations was up slightly in February and has seen very strong growth in March. March’s 222 installations are almost double the 116 achieved in February and nearly 50% up on the solar thermal’s previous record month in October 2014.

New Applications by Installed Technology

New applications are for systems installed since the launch of the scheme on 9th April 2014.

Technology Applications Accreditations
Number % Number %
Air Source Heat Pump 3,177 28% 2,571 28%
Ground Source Heat Pump 720 6% 555 6%
Biomass 5,942 53% 4,801 53%
Solar Thermal 1,310 12% 1,151 13%
Total 11,149 100% 9,078 100%

Total Applications by Installed Technology

Total applications include both new applications and legacy applications.

Technology Applications Accreditations
Number % Number %
Air Source Heat Pump 15,445 42% 12,766 42%
Ground Source Heat Pump 5,398 15% 4,283 14%
Biomass 9,247 25% 7,861 26%
Solar Thermal 6,617 18% 5,785 19%
Total 36,707 100% 30,695 100%

Our Domestic Renewable Heat Updates page is updated monthly with the latest figures, reports and graphs on domestic renewable heat activity in the UK and numbers from the Domestic RHI.

If you would like to find out more about the Domestic RHI, you might find our Domestic RHI Guide useful.

A Note on Graphs Images and Figures Used in this Update

This update is based on statistics released by DECC on the uptake of the Domestic RHI. If you wish to use graphs etc. from this update, you are free to do so and do not need specific permission. We would ask that you credit the source of the images by linking to this update.