Originally introduced last July as a way of encouraging homeowners to turn their back on fossil fuels in favour of renewable forms of heating, the RHPP is the forerunner to the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and saw the Government initially set aside £15 million for the scheme. With the launch of the second phase, an additional £10 million has been added to the pot, which means the second phase will see £25 million worth of funding made available.

Under the RHPP – which is administered by the Energy Saving Trust – grants are available by way of vouchers, which provide financial assistance to help people pay for renewable heating technologies. To be eligible, homes have to be without mains gas heating, although vouchers towards the cost of solar thermal panels are available to all households, regardless of their heating methods. The following payments are available:

  • Solar thermal hot water panels – £300
  • Biomass boilers – £950
  • Air source heat pumps – £850
  • Ground source heat pumps – £1250

Community groups are encouraged to apply for grants to help fund the uptake of renewable heating, and £8 million has been set aside for groups to compete for funding. Similarly, social housing landlords will compete for a fund worth £10 million. The remaining £7 million will be set aside for the household voucher scheme.

“The new Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme will be bigger and better than the original,” said Greg Barker, the Climate Change Minister.

“We’re increasing the budget from £15m to £25m, for the first time we’re including community schemes and there’ll be more social housing schemes that can benefit. Those people who are reliant on expensive oil or electric heating should consider applying to the Premium Payment scheme to cut their fuel bills in the long term.”

“We are encouraged by the interest in the first phase of the schemes – particularly the social landlord scheme – and look forward to building on this,” added Karen Lawrence, Energy Saving Trust Director of Delivery.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has also revealed how it plans to manage the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget to ensure the scheme’s success long-term. It’s proposing the establishment of a package of measures by the end of this financial year. A formal consultation is also due to be launched in the summer, which will look at different policy options to make sure the scheme remains within and doesn’t exceed its budget. For example, a system to lower tariffs as the scheme grows could be introduced. It’s anticipated that full implementation of the RHI scheme will now be pushed back until summer 2013.

Commented Barker: “Putting in place cost control measures for the Renewable Heat Incentive is the prudent thing to do, given this is millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at stake and taking on board the lessons learned from the feed-in tariff scheme.”

The second phase of the RHPP kicks off on the 2nd April, where pre-registrations can be made for the household voucher scheme before it officially opens on 1st May. Details relating to applications for the social housing and communities competitions will be revealed at a later date.

To read DECC’s press release in full, visit www.decc.gov.uk

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