Heat incentives for domestic properties

This month saw the highly anticipated launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for domestic properties.

The RHI is a government scheme which rewards people for generating and using heat from renewable sources such as air-source and ground-source heat pumps, solar (thermal) panels generating hot water and wood-fuel boilers.

The scheme was first proposed in 2009 and was designed to replace the system of grants in use at the time.

The RHI has been in operation for commercial and industrial properties since November 2011, but the scheme for domestic properties was delayed.

Although the capital costs of these installations can be high, the repayments from the domestic RHI should repay this investment, with continued savings over the high costs of fossil fuels such as oil or LPG and electric heating. Payments are based on a property’s estimated heat use and are paid quarterly over seven years.

Aberdeenshire Council has long been an advocate of renewable heat as a means of reducing both the authority’s and the region’s CO2 emissions.

Wood fuel in particular is promoted by the council as beneficial to both the environment and the local economy.

Recently the farming industry has been adopting biomass as a cost effective fuel, with a six MegaWatt installation nearing completion at Aberdeen Grain’s store and drying facility at Whiterashes, near Newmachar.

This significant scheme, representing an investment of £1.25m, will be capable of drying the 80,000 tonnes of grain and oilseed rape handled by the facility annually, displacing up to one million litres of oil currently used in drying.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, said: “The council welcomes the launch of the RHI for domestic heat users, as it has the potential to transform the way we heat our homes.

“This will be especially beneficial to those in rural areas using expensive forms of heat such as oil, bottled gas and electricity.”

ISC vice chair, Alan S. Buchan, said: “Renewable heat is one of the pillars of our strategy for reducing CO2 emissions and becoming carbon neutral as a local authority. This scheme will contribute to sustainability goals for the region.”

For advice on the domestic RHI, home energy efficiency and other government schemes such as the Green Deal, contact Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282 or visit the www.goo.gl/mznTgq.