How to ensure your business maximises the potential of the domestic RHI

on 21 October, 2013

The domestic RHI tariffs, which will come into effect in spring 2014, will have a huge impact on the business opportunities available to installers of renewable heating systems.

Air-to-water heat pump installers can prepare for the introduction of the RHI by following these steps:

1. Carefully design systems to achieve minimum system SPF 2.7

The domestic RHI payment calculation relies on the Heat Emitter Guide (HEG) to estimate the Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF). Using the current HEG, the minimum SPF which would qualify for RHI is 2.7, which is equivalent to a maximum design flow temperature of 50˚C.

2. Offer health checks to MCS accredited systems installed since July 2009

Renewable energy systems installed since 15 July 2009 are known as ‘legacy systems’. Now is the time to give these systems a ‘health check’ to spot and rectify any issues such as over-use of electric supplementary heating, equipment turning on and off too frequently, inadequately sized radiators or poor heating controls. Such a health check will save money in the long run and will of course provide a business opportunity for MCS accredited installers. Whilst systems installed since 15 July 2009 are eligible for RHI, remember they must be registered on the MCS installation database by 22 October 2013 to qualify for RHI.

3. Design all systems to be ‘meter ready

DECC is aiming to make it a requirement that all systems installed after the domestic RHI launch are ‘meter-ready’ where possible. This includes leaving sufficient space for meters to be fitted, installing isolation valves to avoid the need to drain systems when fitting meters, and leaving the pipework accessible and not boxed in.

4. Consider partnerships with local Green Deal assessors

MCS accredited installers could consider becoming an accredited Green Deal assessor, to simplify the customer journey and avoid multiple visits. Alternatively, MCS installers could work with Green Deal assessors to help the householder meet RHI eligibility criteria.

5. Correctly estimate the RHI income

Estimate potential RHI income up-front, to ensure customers are not taken by surprise. For individual heat pump systems, tariff payments will be determined by a ‘deeming’ calculation. For an air-to-water heat pump, this will be the estimated heat use from the Energy Performance Certificate carried out as part of the Green Deal assessment. Heat use is combined with the heat pump’s design SPF to estimate how much renewable heat will be generated. Payment is based on this renewable heat output.

Nancy Jonsson is product manager at Daikin UK.

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