After several months of consultation about removing new solar thermal systems from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) starting in 2017, the British government announced on 14 December 2016 that the support will in fact continue. The government published the results of the consultation in a document called The Renewable Heat Incentive: A Reformed Scheme (see attached pdf). Here it was announced that support for new solar thermal installations will in fact continue through the RHI scheme without changes. Hence the tariff for the households will remain at the current level of 0.1974 Pound Sterling (GBP)/kWh paid over seven years and for non-households the tariff will remain at the current level of 0.1028 GBP/kWh over 20 years. Solar space heating is still not eligible. The chart shows the small portion of solar thermal accredited installations (1.57 %) in the non-domestic RHI between Q2 2014 and Q3 2016 – in total 223 solar applications since the start of the programme.
The domestic Renewable Heating Incentive (dRHI) for England, Wales and Scotland has been launched on 9 April 2014. For solar thermal, the dRHI will pay the end-user tariff at a rate of 0.192 Pound Sterling (GBP)/kWh for 7 years. The existing non-domestic RHI scheme continues at a new rate adjusted for inflation of 0.094 GBP/kWh for 20 years. The dRHI applies to biomass boilers & stoves, ground-source & air-source heat pumps heating and solar thermal DHW for single homes. The subsidy is for properties capable of getting a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which confirms the property is a domestic dwelling. The recipient of the subsidy is the owner of the heating system. So this can be the person owning and living in the home, a private landlord or a registered social landlord. In general it is not applicable to a new home unless this has been self-built. Other requirements are that the property should also have a Green Deal Assessment (GDA) and where the GDA recommends installing loft and cavity wall insulation, these must first be fitted before applying for the dRHI. New self-built house can be exempt from the GDA requirement, as these will be assumed to have adequate building insulation. There are initial costs to the user to first obtain the EPC and GDA. (Find more information in the database of incentive programmes.)
The UK Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) for Households, including assistance for solar thermal, has been announced since 2010 despite the non-household version being launched late in 2011. Positive signs indicate this will now be ready before summer 2014, as the UK government recently passed the relevant draft statutory instrument. This is the result of the consultation process which start in September 2013 based on a proposal of Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).