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3 reasons why RHI payments for new solar thermal look set to be scrapped

DECC has just launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). One of the biggest changes is the intention to remove solar thermal from the scheme.

The consultation which was launched on Thursday, needs responses by 27th April 2016. It has suggested a number of changes.

So why do they want to remove the subsidy for solar thermal?

  1. DECC believes that many people who install solar thermal would have done it anyway. Apparently surveys have shown that about half the people questioned say that this is the case. So, it’s not clear that the incentive is supporting the market in quite the same way as other renewable heating technologies. 
  2. Solar thermal also has a comparatively high tariff at 19.51p/kWh and accounts for around 17% of accreditations, but is only responsible for 2% of the heat delivered by the scheme. So it’s a costly measure to the scheme which doesn’t generate that much towards the targets of reducing carbon emissions.
  3. DECC consider the market to be reasonably well established. Solar thermal has been around for many years, is a reasonably easy technology to install and many homes would be suitable. It’s a well-known and well-understood technology in terms of public perception. So, DECC probably don’t need to support this industry as much as that for say heat pumps.

Solar thermal is relatively cheap compared to other renewable heating technologies. It is, therefore, more easily accessible to the public that the other renewable heat technologies.

The long and short of it is that DECC feel that they need to focus the scheme on the technologies which don’t have fully established markets and will make a bigger impact on targets.

If you have strong thoughts on this matter, please respond to the consultation. For more on the proposed changes, see The Renewable Heat Incentive: A reformed and refocused scheme.

Photo: julian

More information about the Renewable Heat Incentive on YouGen

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