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 UK solar thermal industry has had several months notice that the new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was arriving. On the 28th November 2011 this was finally announced (see www.solarthermalworld.org/node/3191) and the industry has now had time to give its reactions, especially since the PV tariffs have almost been halved since 12 December 2011. So now solar thermal has two benefits; lower PV tariffs and a feed-in tariff for solar thermal kilowatt hours of Pound Sterling (GBP) 0.085 (EUR 0.09) for 20 years.
On 10th March 2011 the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published details of their Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. This will launch on 29th July 2011 (see press release). The RHI aims to help the UK achieve a target of 12% of total heat consumption coming from renewable energy sources by 2020. It is predicted over the next decade that this initiative will reduce carbon emissions by 44 million tonnes, although this depends on which fuels are displaced.
A recent survey of UK Solar Trade Association (STA) members has concluded that solar thermal business has dropped dramatically over the last 3 months. Since the arrival of the new UK Coalition Government, the survey found that almost 50% of solar thermal installers are reporting a 75% or greater reduction in business. New jobs are also being affected, with 65% of members considering temporarily leaving the solar thermal sector and 7% leaving permanently (find the full report attached).
Great Britain is a country with a fair number of governmental initiatives intended to save carbon emissions. Two major documents are the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan and the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) published in July 2009, which cover all industries and renewable technologies. There is no doubt about the country taking its responsibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions seriously, with RES 2020 targets calling for a reduction of 15 % in such emissions.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has recently published its Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) which includes solar thermal. This has provoked a strong response from the UK Solar Trade Association (STA) stating that DECC has “massively underestimated the potential of solar thermal technologies and completely missed a huge opportunity”.