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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

NI Domestic Renewable Heating Incentive - For people considering or intending to apply

Advance Information

The Domestic RHI is not yet open however it will be launched by the end of the year. The NI Renewable Heat Incentive is a government financial incentive, you'll receive an initial upfront payment and then payments every 12 months for 7 years. This scheme is designed primarily with single homes in mind however anyone can benefit from the RHI payments for their home, all you'll require is an EPC or Energy Performance Certificate and this proves that your property is assessed as a domestic dwelling. You'll need this in order to apply for the NIRHI.

If the above doesn't apply for you, you'll need to take a look at non-domestic RHI. It's for renewable incentives designed around Industrial, Commercial or Public Premises. It also covers heating systems that heat more than one home, such as two houses or a block of flats.

Eligible Heating Systems

The eligible renewable heating system types for the Domestic RHI are:

  • Biomass Boilers*
  • Air Source Heat Pumps
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps
  • Solar Thermal Panels - Flat Plate or Evacuated Tube Only
*Biomass Boilers does include Biomass Stoves that are equipped with a boiler to provide heating through a wet radiator system. Initially this will include all types as accredited under MCS but the Stoves that do not use wood pellets will be under close review. Your system must be metered if you have a boiler or stove and also another system, like an oil boiler.

Check your product

It's not enough to just have one of the types of renewable heating systems that are eligible for the scheme. The make and model must also meet specific technical requirements, check your specific product is in the Product eligibility list. If it's not you need to contact your installer to discuss the next steps.

Northern Ireland Domestic RHI and Energy Efficiency

Because Renewable Heating Systems work best in a well insulated home, the Northern Ireland Domestic RHI wishes to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient, Before applying to the Domestic RHI you must first:

  • Install loft and cavity wall insulation to current recommended standards. If it is not possible to do this, then you should submit evidence to us as part of your application. 
  • Get an updated EPC to verify your insulation and your renewable heat installation.
If you intend to apply

  • You must be the owner of an eligible heating system.
  • The property must be occupied as a dwelling.
  • Your renewable heating system must be MCS certified.
  • No part of the renewable heating system used to produce heat may be used before the first commissioning date. The date is on your MCS Certificate. Some parts may be exempt.
  • The heating system must have been first commissioned on or after 1st September 2010. The date is on your MCS certificate.
  • You must apply within 12 months of the commissioning date of the heating system, shown on the MCS certificate. The deadline is different if you installed your heating system before the scheme opened. You must apply within the first year, i.e. before 30 November 2015.
  • If you received RHPP (Renewable Heat Premium Payment), DetiNI will make contact with you, so you will not have to do anything.
  • If you received a public grant other than the RHPP you will not be eligible for the NIRHI.
  • To be eligible, you or the former owner must also have made a personal financial contribution to the purchase or installation costs.
Supplying Proof

Your installer will register your renewable heating system and give you the MCS Certificate, to apply you complete an application form found on NI Direct Energy Wise web page you will also need an MCS Installations Certificate and an EPC number. This is at the top of your certificate and is a 20 digit code e.g. 1234-5678-9101-1121-314. Ensure that your EPC includes an estimated Potential Energy Use including figures for heating, hot water and lighting.

Payment Information

For most, payments made on an estimation of your heating system's annual heat use. For Biomass and Heat Pump systems DetiNI take the heat load figure on the EPC. For Solar Thermal, DetiNI use a figure calculated from information on your MCS certificate. Some people will have to install meters and submit regular readings on which payments will be based. This includes, but is not limited to, those with a back-up heating system such as an oil boiler, and those with a property which is a second home.

The domestic RHI payments have two sections, one is an upfront payment to help with the costs on accreditation and an ongoing incentive in the form of annual payment for seven years. The upfront payment is dependant on what technology you're using and the ongoing payment is dependant on how much Energy you use in your home.

The upfront payments are as follows:
  • Biomass - £2500
  • Air Source Heat Pumps - £1700
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps - £3500
  • Solar Thermal -  £320
If you've already received support for under the RHPP you will receive the ongoing payment only. The ongoing payments are calculated by multiplying a tariff with the heat demand/use in your home. The current tariff rates (p/kWh) are as follows;
  • Biomass:                                 5.6 p/kWh
  • Air Source Heat Pump:         3.5 p/kWh
  • Ground Source Heat Pump: 8.2 p/kWh
  • Solar Thermal:                       13.5 p/kWh
Your Responsibilities

A condition of you joining the scheme is that you will abide by the scheme's rules. They include, but are not limited to:
  • Keeping the heating system and metering equipment in good working order
  • Telling DetiNI of the equipment breaks down and isn't working whilst waiting on repairs.
  • Telling DetiNI if you sell your house (with the heating system in it), in which case payments to you will stop and switch to the new owner, should they apply to the scheme and fill certain conditions.
  • Telling DetiNI if you make any changes to your heating system, for example, if you replace a part of it.
  • Telling DetiNI if there are changes that mean your property needs to be metered, for example if you purchase a second home.
  • Telling DetiNI if there is any change in circumstances, that may affect your eligibility to receive payments.
Audit Checks

To continue to receive payments, you'll have to complete an annual declaration confirming that you've kept to the rules. To help protect the public purse, DetiNI carry out a system of desk and site audits to verify that declarations are accurate. They're randomly chosen, so anyone may be selected at any time.

If you've received RHPP in the past when your boiler was installed then you will not be eligible for the subsidized up-front payment the RHPP was a one-off payment to help with covering some of the cost of the boiler. You will still be eligible for the seven year annual payment plan.

For all enquiries regarding NIRHI, call - 02890529219 or Email:
For more information regarding NIRHI please see the following:

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