What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Turning your heating green won’t just cut your carbon footprint – it could earn you money too. Find out how you can get payments for using renewable energy sources to heat your home under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Turning your heating green won’t just cut your carbon footprint – it could earn you money too. Find out how you can get payments for using renewable energy sources to heat your home under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Written by
Sajni Shah
Utilities comparison expert
Last Updated
3 min read
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What is the Renewable Heat Incentive? 

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government-run financial scheme to promote and encourage homes and businesses to use renewable heating sources. 

By joining the RHI scheme, you could get regular payments for installing renewable heating systems in your home. 

Plus, by switching to renewable energy heating systems, you could help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and meet the government’s renewable energy targets. 

Since April 2014, thousands of homes and businesses have been receiving payments for their use of renewable heating. The RHI scheme for businesses – the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive – is now closed to new applicants. And the deomestic  scheme closed at midnight on 31 March 2022. But if you’re moving into a property with a renewable heating system already accredited to RHI, you may be able to apply to receive the remainder of the payment.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme grants

You may be able to get a grant of £7,500 towards the cost of installing a low carbon heating system such as ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps or £5,000 towards biomass boilers, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).

The scheme runs to 2028 in England and Wales. Different energy efficiency grants and loans are available in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What types of heating are covered under the RHI scheme? 

The types of heating systems covered under the scheme include: 

To be eligible for the RHI, renewable energy technologies must also be certified Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) products. If you have a heat pump, you must also fulfil ‘metering for performance’ requirements. This means you must have electricity meters to measure how much electricity you’re using to generate heat as well as the heat output. You can choose three options that can be used alone or together:

Am I eligible for the RHI scheme? 

As well as having an accredited renewable energy heating system, to apply for the domestic RHI scheme, you must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and either: 

  • Own your own home
  • OR be a private or social landlord 

New-build properties aren’t usually eligible unless you’re building your own home.

How does the Renewable Heat Incentive work? 

Once you’ve signed up for the scheme, you’ll get quarterly payments into your bank account for seven years. Your first payment should arrive three months after the date you applied. Payments are based on the amount of renewable energy your heating system generates. 

You can apply online for the RHI scheme on the Ofgem website.

How much will I be paid by the RHI scheme? 

It depends on the heating system you’ve installed and the amount of renewable energy you generate. Your payments are based on tariffs set by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

According to Government figures, people taking part in the scheme have received up to £2,800 a year in payments. 

Use the RHI payment calculator to find out how much money you could get through the scheme.

Can I apply for both the RHI and the Smart Export Guarantee scheme? 

Yes you can. While RHI pays you for heat generation, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) pays you for exporting any electricity you don’t use to the National Grid. You should be able to receive both RHI and SEG payments at the same time.

Did you know? 

Since the launch of the RHI:

  • A total of 91,551 renewable heating systems have been accredited to the scheme
  • Ofgem estimates over 5.6708 million tonnes of CO2 will be saved over the lifetime of the scheme
  •  Accredited heating systems have generated 6,244GWh of renewable energy since the launch of the scheme in 2014
  • Air source heat pumps are the most popular type of heating system installed under the RHI scheme.

(Figures correct to the end of July 2021)

Compare renewable energy providers 

You can start to be greener by switching to an energy provider that offers green energy tariffs. They promise to supply energy that’s up to 100% renewable, from sources like wind farms and solar panels. 

Compare renewable energy suppliers and find out how easy it is to make the switch.

New energy deals are available now. See if you could switch to a better deal. Compare energy