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Energy Efficiency Measures: Grants and Subsidies - Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

If you need help with energy efficiency improvements in your privately owned or rented home, there are a number of schemes that may be able to help - from the Government, energy suppliers, local councils and other sources.

What is available depends on the country of the UK you live in.

Some schemes are only available to people on low incomes or certain benefits.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

England, Scotland and Wales

The Renewable Heat Incentive is a Government financial scheme to promote the use of renewable heating, which can help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and the country's effects on climate change. 

There are two schemes:

  • Domestic RHI scheme: The renewable heating system has to heat only one property which has or is capable of getting a domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to prove the property has been assessed as a domestic dwelling.

  • Non-domestic RHI scheme: This scheme is for renewable heating systems in commercial, public or industrial premises where one heating system might serve multiple places - such as hospitals, schools and businesses.

These are both managed by the energy regulator Ofgem but they have separate tariffs, joining conditions, rules and application processes.

You can only join one scheme.

If your property set-up is complicated

If you don't know which scheme your property fits into or the situation does not quite fit the descriptions above, see the Ofgem fact sheet: The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): Domestic or Non-domestic? for more information.

How does the scheme work?

People who join the scheme and stick to its rules receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat their heating system produces.

Who is eligible?

The scheme is open to any household that meets the eligibility criteria - whether they are off or on the gas grid.

If you are off mains gas, you have the most chance to save on your fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions through this scheme.

What is renewable heating?

The technologies currently covered by the scheme include:

  • Biomass heating systems, which burn fuel such as wood pellets, chips or logs to provide central heating and hot water in a home. Biomass-only boilers are designed to provide heating using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water. Pellet stoves with integrated boilers are designed to burn only wood pellets and can heat the room they are in directly, as well as provide heat to the rest of the home using a ‘wet system’ (eg through radiators) and provide hot water.

  • Ground or water source heat pumps, which extract heat from the ground or water. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water in a home.

  • Air to water heat pumps, which absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to provide heating and/or hot water in a home.

  • Solar thermal panels, which collect heat from the sun and use it to heat up water which is stored in a hot water cylinder. The two types of panels that are eligible are evacuated tube panels and liquid-filled flat plate panels.

From 5 February 2015, there have been changes to the eligibility criteria to make the following eligible for the RHI scheme. However, there is a short amount of time to apply for the RHI scheme for these items:

  • 'Cooker stoves' (biomass stoves with a back boiler that are predominantly designed for space and hot water heating but can also be used for cooking).

  • High Temperature Heat Pumps (a development of existing air source heat pump technology).

Only one space heating system is allowed per property but homeowners can apply for solar thermal for hot water and a space heating system.

See the Department for Energy & Climate Change Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive: Changes to Eligibility guidance for more information

Renewable Heat Incentive: more information and applications

To find out more about the Renewable Heat Incentive or to apply, see:

If you can't apply online, contact Ofgem on telephone: 0300 003 0744

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has its own Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

For more information, see the NI Direct website information on Renewable Heat Funding.

Updated May 2016

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