Builders' Merchants News

RHPP extension fills a gap

Published:  05 April, 2012

LEAMINGTON SPA: With the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheduled to finish at the end of March, last weeks’ announcement by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, provided cause for optimism for the future of low carbon heating in domestic properties.

A revised version of RHPP, which opened for pre-registration on 2 April, will continue the provision of one-off payments via a voucher system, with support levels remaining unchanged.

Simon Allan, renewables director for Plumb Center, welcomed the move as an interim measure: “The extension of RHPP is encouraging, especially as the timetable for domestic RHI has now been put back. I would however have liked to see the Government take RHPP further by increasing the financial tariff for each technology. Under the current scheme many homeowners requested vouchers, but only a fraction more than 50% actually redeemed them. This is definitely a missed opportunity, so incentive schemes must work harder to help independent installers, who are already investing in training, to win more work.

“The lack of clarity over domestic RHI could lead to homeowners putting off the decision to adopt renewables – and RHPP at current levels might not be enough of an inducement. This highlights the need for a cohesive, long-term strategy for incentives. The staggered implementation of multiple schemes only delays the intended outcome – widespread uptake of renewables – which does little to stimulate the market or encourage more SMEs to get involved.”

RHPP funding starts at £300 for solar thermal systems, which is open to all households. Air source heat pumps, biomass boilers and ground source heat pumps attract incentives of between £850 and £1250, but are limited to properties that are not on mains gas.

The new RHPP will have a broadened scope, allocating £18m of funds for projects covering social housing and community groups. Details of these elements will follow at a later date.