Could You Get Ahead with The Scottish Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)?

Over the last few years, energy prices have rapidly risen in the UK. With an average increase of £30 (5.3%) in 2018 alone, it’s clear that this trend is set to continue. As 2018 was a particularly prevalent year for energy rises, the government introduced an energy price cap

And although this cap claims to cut down the price of household energy bills, it’s vital to know that it only actually applies to those that are on standard variable rate tariffs – not those who are on a fixed-rate deal

However, if you are on a standard tariff, it won’t actually stop the amount that you pay and it will still take into account the energy that you use, your location and the payment method you use. Giving the public a false sense of savings, it could discourage people not to switch supplier or switch to a more eco-friendly heating solution.

The price of energy is undeniably driven by demand. Affecting both homeowners and commercial consumers, it expands across a range of industries and can be increased by the use of fuel, transportation and other sectors. Although the EU energy-efficiency rules in 2008 set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) aimed at decreasing both the price and emissions, it’s clear that the changes are occurring rapidly enough.

Homeowners are recognising this demand for energy, the price rises and the environmental impacts that come with it. And because of this, they are starting to turn towards more environmentally friendly heating solutions. Helping to decrease the amount of CO2 and bringing electricity bills down, there are many benefits that you can reap from adapting your home.

And a very tempting way in which to do this is to appeal for a government incentive. But do you qualify? 

To be eligible for this scheme, the only requirements are that you have to either:

  • Be a homeowner
  • Be a social or private landlord

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (also known as RHI) pays out for 7 years, based on the amount of renewable heat that’s created by your heating system. Whether you have a biomass boiler, solar water heating or a heat pump installed, you could get up to £11,500 in repayments. 

Climate change and devastating weather is the result of the huge CO2 emissions that are created by our home (42% of the overall emissions). So by changing to a more eco-friendly heat source, you will help to contribute to the reduction set by the UK – which is an 80% decrease by 2030.

What Eco-Friendling Heatings Options Are Available?

If you’re interested in making a change, here are some of the most popular eco heating solutions that you can implement within your home. 

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air Source Heat Pumps (also known as ASHPs) are quickly taking over. Absorbing heat from the air outside, the heat will then be transferred to heat your underfloor heating system, hot water supply, warm air convectors or your radiators. An innovative and more environmentally friendly option, it has the benefit of saving you money in the long run as it’s a renewable energy product. 

Unlike a ground source heat pump, you won’t need to dig down to install it. You will only need an air compressor unit to be installed on the exterior of your property – which makes it a viable option for those are limited in space. 

Although this option has less impact on the environment as it emits a lower amount of carbon, it’s important to know that they still have an impact as they still need some electricity in order to work. 

Should I Get An ASHP?

ASHPs work best in homes that are insulated. And although they don’t require a lot of space in terms of installation, you will still need a small outdoor area so that it can be attached to the wall. They are tested as low as -15°C, so even in the coldest months no Scotland homeowner should ever worry.

Find out how much you can save and earn by installing an Air Source Heat Pump using the calculator.

How Much Do They Cost?

Many people are put off by the installation cost as it varies by the size of the property. However, with the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, it’s clear that you could soon earn back the money that you invested – making this a viable option for those wanting to change their heating methods.

A+ Rated Gas Boilers

You might have started to notice a rating score on products such as boilers and washing machines. This indicates how energy-efficient the product is in terms of the new EU standards. The greener the arrow is, the better the energy consumption – so if you notice a boiler that’s below an A rating, it’s not only bad for the environment, but it’s costing you more than it should. 

In terms of the government incentive, they won’t pay out for a+ rated gas boilers – but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in products that have this rating. Instead, they will pay out for biomass boilers. Unlike a traditional gas boiler, a biomass boiler uses sustainably sourced wood pellets to heat your property. This change from fossil fuels will help to decrease your long-term carbon footprint.

How Much Do Biomass Boilers Cost?

Because they are so innovative, biomass boilers can cost anywhere between £14,000 to £20,000 including the installation, fuel store, flue and VAT. Yes, this is one of the most expensive options. But because you will be eligible for the RHI, you will get a proportion of your money back. You will also save money over time in terms of your energy bills.

German Electric Radiators

These high-efficiency heaters are ideal for homes that want the convenience of not switching to another heating source, making for a quicker, simpler replacement for their current inefficient electric storage heaters.  Using a dynamic and innovative reheating process, German Electric Heating will keep your home warmer for longer. Super efficient, they will also save you money in the long term. Wibo is a popular brand for this type of product and they are popular as they can be easily controlled per room so that you can have the perfect temperature throughout the day.

How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of German electric heating installs will depend on the size and number of radiators you want. If you want to decrease your carbon footprint and save money, you could also consider installing a solar PV – which will grant you your own electricity supply. 

Other Ideas

If eco heating doesn’t seem viable within your home right now, there are a few other ways in which you can reduce your energy bills and emissions:

Improve Your Insulation

 Does your house often feel cold? Do you rely on your heating? Then a great way of keeping heat in is by improving your loft and cavity wall insulation. Not only will this make your house feel warmer, but it will help to reduce your energy bills throughout the day. You might also be eligible for a subsidiary for improving it.

Upgrade Your Boiler 

If your boiler is over 10/15 years old, it might be worth updating it. Not only will it save you £100’s each year, but newer models are more energy-efficient, meaning that you won’t contribute as heavily to the CO2 emissions. Modern boilers also offer updated programming and controls so that you can have the right temperature for your space. 

Invest in Solar Panels

Solar Panels are a simple solution. Saving you money on your heating bills and far more eco-friendly than using electricity, you will be able to create a renewable home in no time. However, this can be an expensive option, so it’s important that you research into different companies before you invest.

Reduce Demand with Solar PV panels

People across the UK are starting to invest in Solar PV panels as they generate a large amount of electricity in the home. Complementing the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) set by the government, you will also be able to generate an income.
Greener Energy Group who have sponsored this post have acknowledged the vast options out there for homeowners. Their goal is to help you make the right choice for your budget and your homes suitability as not all solutions are even viable. They recommend having a home suitability survey first before making any decision to maximise your investment & maximise your heating bill savings. For a free home suitability survey in Scotland start here.


Shaun Woods

Shaun is one of our heating & renewable product experts, who you can rely on for the most up to date information in the industry.

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