Homes which have had renewable heat measures – such as solar hot water, heat pumps and biomass boilers – installed since 15 July 2009 will now be eligible for payments under a scheme known as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The payments will vary according to the amount of heat they produce. The measures will qualify if they are MSC (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certified and are installed by an accredited installer.
Simple? Not quite!
The bad news is that homes have to have a Green Deal assessment in order to apply; and if that assessment says that loft and cavity wall insulation should be installed, that has to be done before applying for the RHI. Houses with solid walls would be eligible without insulating them.
Unfortunately, as we know, the government’s Green Deal scheme has been a miserable failure. The latest figures show that £36 million has been spent on the scheme by the government in the last year while only 2,100 households have had energy efficient measures fitted – at an administrative cost of £17,000 per household. It would have been cheaper to make the whole thing free. To put new life into the scheme, some new cash incentives have been announced. From 1 June, people in England and Wales will be able to get up to £7,600 back through a new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund. The money can be used to pay, for example, 75 per cent of the cost of installing solid wall insulation, or a new heating system.
Under the new scheme, domestic energy customers can get:
up to £1,000 for installing two measures from an approved list; and/or
up to £6,000 for installing solid wall insulation; and
up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment.
The scheme also entitles those who have bought a property in the 12 months prior to application to qualify for up to an additional £500 if they carry out energy efficiency improvements.
Some very disappointing news is that the funding for the Affordable Warmth scheme, that provides free insulation and gas boilers to lower income households, has been reduced. The reason? Our fuel bills have been reduced by removing what David Cameron calls ‘green crap’, and as a result, fewer homes will be helped to become energy efficient.
There has been more success locally. Forum 21 has made 114 grants of up to £250 to elderly people who have trouble keeping warm in winter. This is part of the Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter project which invites donations from pensioners who don’t need their £200 winter fuel allowance.
For clear information about the RHI, visit the Ofgem website – www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/domestic-renewable-heat-incentive.
Contact Forum 21 for more information about our work helping the community to keep energy costs low and reduce our impact on climate change. We’re always looking for more volunteers. Tel. 01984 634 242 or firstname.lastname@example.org