Introduction to the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme (RHPP)


As the domestic market eagerly awaits the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for householders, many are unaware that there is financial assistance available right now for renewable heat technologies in the form of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme (RHPP). The RHPP is designed to bridge the gap until the RHI kicks in for householders, offering a one off grant to help with the cost of installing renewable heat generating technologies.

If you are unclear on what exactly the RHPP is all about, or how it works, this introduction is designed to give you some basic information on the grant, including how much you could get and how to apply for it.

Renewable HeatAlternative Heat / CC BY 2.0

What is the RHPP?

This one off grant is targeted at domestic householders who wish to install renewable heat technologies. The government has acknowledged that the costs of installing heat generating renewable energy technologies can sometimes be prohibitive, and whilst the forthcoming RHI is designed to add a financial incentive to the investment. The Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme has been put in place in the meantime and can help people get started sooner with their installations.

What is covered by the RHPP?

The RHPP supports renewable heat technologies in the domestic market which the UK government has designated as being eligible for funding. At this time the supported technologies are:

  • Biomass boilers
  • Solar thermal panels
  • Air to water heat pumps
  • Ground or water source heat pumps

At this time, air to air and exhaust air heat pumps are not supported. Wood burning stoves without any capability of heating water as well as multi fuel room heaters are also excluded from the RHPP.

How much is available?

The amount of RHPP you will receive depends on the technology for which you are applying. In this second phase of the RHPP, some of the grants have been increased, and each is set at a level that reflects both the cost of installation of that technology and the potential carbon savings achievable. Currently RHPP vouchers are available as follows:

  • For air to water heat pumps: £1,300
  • For a biomass boiler: £2,000
  • For ground or water source heat pumps: £2,300
  • For solar thermal panels: £600

How long is it available for?

This phase of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme is scheduled to run from April 2013 up until the end of March 2014 subject to funding being available. The scheme has a fixed budget, so householders are encouraged to apply sooner rather than later to ensure they are allocated their grant.

Who can apply for the grant?

The scheme is open to residents in England, Wales and Scotland who have not previously applied under the RHPP phase 1 scheme. It is possible to apply for a grant retrospectively, but the installation must not have been commissioned before 21st July 2011.

If you have mains gas heating in your home, or have recently removed your mains gas heating, then you are only eligible to apply for solar thermal. Properties ‘off gas’ which are heated with electricity, oil, bottled gas or solid fuel are also eligible to apply for biomass or heat pump technologies.

There are a few other criteria for eligibility that you should be aware of before applying:

  • Both owners and tenants can apply, but tenants must have permission of the landlord
  • Houses must be built and occupied to be eligible. ‘Off Plan’ applications are not allowed
  • Houses must be insulated to 250mm loft and cavity wall insulation where possible
  • Your property must have a Green Deal assessment before you can be paid
  • You should already have planning permission in place before applying
  • Your installer must be MCS accredited

Isn’t it better to wait for the RHI?

In short, no. The RHI is probably launching in 2014, but has already been put back several times, so it’s best not to count on this. Householders taking advantage of the RHPP scheme will not be losing out on anything, as they will still be eligible for ongoing payments via the RHI when it launches, less the amount of grant they received under the RHPP. Taking into account the benefits of renewable heat over the coming winter, the best strategy is certainly to take advantage of this grant sooner rather than later, and to also apply for the RHI once the scheme goes live.

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