Non-domestic RHI – the recipe for success

In 2008, in response to the introduction of the Climate Change Act a number of construction industry-specific legislation, building regulations, codes of practice and financial incentives for commercial buildings in the UK were developed - chief of which was the eagerly awaited non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (ndRHI) scheme.

This world-first environmental programme was launched in 2011 by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and has become central to the Government’s heat strategy. It was designed to provide financial incentives to UK companies and increase the adoption of renewable energy technologies used to generate heat for UK properties.

As energy costs spiral out of control and as businesses start to feel the strain of paying for expensive fossil fuels, the ndRHI offers a route away from higher bills and makes using renewable heating technology more attractive. Since its launch, more than 5,000 applications have been processed with more than £69 million in payments made to UK companies already.

The scheme was amended on 28 May 2014 to include support for renewable energy systems such as air source heat pumps. To qualify, air source heat pump and ground source heat pump installations must have a seasonal performance factor greater than 2.5 and must be fitted with heat and electric meters to verify the renewable heat generated.

For non-domestic buildings, ndRHI payments are calculated by multiplying the tariff figure (which varies for each technology) by the measured heat energy output (in kWh) produced by the heat pump. It is a straightforward calculation in simple systems, where the heat pump is the only source of heat. In complex systems with multiple heat sources, additional meters may be required to ensure that only the renewable heat output is used in the payment calculation.

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