Neil Schofield: beware RHI's achilles heel.

Red tape could derail renewable heat incentive

Published:  03 February, 2010

WORCESTER: The Government’s plans for a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which will encourage householders to install renewable technologies to generate domestic heat, could be left dead in the water by regulatory red tape which is discouraging installers from going green.

The RHI consultation, which was launched yesterday, has been welcomed by Worcester, Bosch Group, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of renewable technology products, including solar thermal and groundsource heat pumps.

However, Worcester has voiced concerns that a key provision of the RHI will be that both installers and equipment must be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

Neil Schofield, head of sustainable development at Worcester, Bosch commented: “The RHI consultation document is packed full of excellent ideas which should help encourage the uptake of renewable technologies to generate domestic heat.

"The achilles heel of the Government’s proposals is its reliance on the MCS to ensure installers are qualified to install renewables. This has the potential to derail the entire scheme.

“To-date, only about 350 installers across the UK have registered as part of the MCS scheme, with many being deterred by high levels of bureaucracy, red tape and fees which make becoming a ‘sustainable’ installer a very onerous task.

"My concern is that consumers either won’t be able to find an installer who can fit this equipment or, at worst, will be deterred from installing a renewable solution because their usual installer has not signed up for the scheme.”

The RHI proposes that consumers will reimbursed the cost of their renewable technology installation over the course of “a number of years” with payments made annually for installations below 45kW on the condition that the technology remains operational and well maintained.

“It is very unlikely that the final proposal will contain help for consumers with the upfront capital cost of a renewable installation. We will be pushing hardto ensure that the RHI proposal for annual payments is sufficiently attractive to ensure households are incentivised to install a renewable solution,” Mr Schofield stated.

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