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Changes to RHI open up renewable opportunities for social housing
Published:  10 November, 2014

More social landlords and their tenants could soon be benefiting from renewable heating, helping them achieve warmer homes and lower bills, as changes to the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive make the scheme more accessible.

From Spring 2015 Registered Social Landlords will no longer be required to have a Green Deal Assessment in order to apply for the RHI scheme, the Department for Energy & Climate Change has announced today.

If social landlords already have Energy Performance Certificates for their properties, and these are less than two years old, they will be able to apply to the scheme without requiring a Green Deal Assessment.

Amber Rudd MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change

Latest statistics on fuel poverty show there are 2.28m fuel poor households in the UK, and 365,000 of them live in social housing. Fuel poverty can be exacerbated for some if they need to pay upfront for their heating, as is the case for many homes off the gas grid.

Andrew Burke, of the National Housing Federation

Ralph Retallack, energy efficiency project manager at Coastline Housing in West Cornwall

“Where we have installed air source heat pumps in our properties, the feedback from tenants has been very good. Those who were previously unable to afford oil to heat their homes say it has transformed their properties,” said Mr Retallack.

He explained that the upfront cost of oil is a problem for many, with a minimum order is 500 litres which costs from around £270 up to £370 depending on market fluctuations.

“Electricity is required to run the air source systems, but our tenants can budget weekly for heat and hot water which is preferable, and enables them to enjoy a comfortable living environment at an affordable price,” Mr Retallack continued.

“Our tenant customers have much warmer homes and lower bills – and Coastline receives the RHI payments to offset the cost of installation, so it works well for everyone.”

A further change to the domestic RHI scheme will see the list of eligible technologies expand to include cooker stoves from Spring 2015. These are biomass stoves with back boilers, mainly designed for space and hot water heating, but can also be used for cooking. As cooker stoves are biomass stoves, they will receive the biomass tariff of 12.2p/kWh.

This means the list of heating systems now eligible under the domestic RHI scheme includes: