Ofgem has announced a significant change to the RHI scheme to be effective from the 01 October. This change will allow participants to replace accredited heating systems such as boilers, engines and heat pumps so long as they retain the same technology category and participants accept the implications of changes in size (see below examples). This is great news for participants that may be struggling with their existing plant because of regular breakdowns, oversized equipment, the requirement for different fuels or needing extra capacity.
Prior to these changes if your plant broke down and was unable to be repaired, or you wanted to change your boiler, you would have to apply for a new RHI application and a new tariff rate. These changes will enable you to change your heat generating system (within the same technology) and still receive the tariff that your original system obtained.
With these regulation changes, it gives participants a great deal of flexibility to upgrade their systems and there are a number of reasons why a participant may wish to do this. See examples below:
You could replace your boiler with another one which has a larger rated capacity, e.g. replace a 150 kW boiler with one of 190 kW. The Tier 1 and Tier 2 rates will remain identical to that of the original accreditation however, the Tier 1 threshold will be based on the original boiler size and there will be a cap on total heat supported based on original boiler size. In this example, the accreditation would receive Tier 1 to (150*1314 = 197,100 kWh) whilst any heat over 1,314,000kWh would not be paid.
If a plant is now considered larger than required, it is likely that the plant will not be running efficiently, you could remedy this by installing a smaller plant. You will still receive the same tariff rate but your Tier 1 threshold will reduce and based on the new plant capacity (e.g. original boiler 199 kW, original Tier 1 allocation 261,486kWh, new boiler 99 kW, new boiler Tier 1 allocation 130,086kWh).
Change Biomass Boiler Type
An interesting aspect to these changes will mean that you will be able to change your boiler type (e.g. you can replace manually fed batch burning boilers with automated feed boilers and vice versa. This will also allow boilers that use expensive fuels such as wood pellet to be replaced with boilers that can use cheaper fuels like woodchip or wood logs.
Replacing faulty or worn out plant
Boilers that are being operated long hours can be prone to breakdowns and other systems of lower build quality could now be showing signs of deterioration. The changes will enable participants to replace their plants to combat this, increase the system efficiency or install new plant as required.
To continue receiving your RHI payments you must make a new RHI application but you will be subject to the regulations at the time of the original application. Approved accreditations will receive a tariff for remaining years of the 20 year lifetime of the original RHI application. If you have any questions, call me on 024 7669 8887.