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Industry responds to RHI and RHPP

With Climate Changer Minister Greg Barker heralding the Renewable Heat Incentive as “a new era in home heating”, industry suppliers have responded to the launch of the scheme, which includes the Renewable Heat Premium Payment initiative.

Welcoming the provision of grants, Simon Lomas, Kensa Heat pumps managing director, said: “It should also be made clear that any qualifying domestic installation, that receives the Premium Payment, will still be eligible for the full RHI tariff due to start in October 2012.”

Eleanor Fox, Vokèra marketing director, praised the simplicity of the RHPP, but stated her company felt the payments were not enough to dramatically increase uptake of renewable technology and there was still not sufficient detail available for the RHI tariff.

Another enthusiastic supporter of RHPP, Kelly Butler, BEAMA Domestic Heat Pump Association director, said the timing would provide installers and customers with a full heating season to make use of the scheme. “It also provides an incentive to installers to register with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which will give the industry further credibility,” he said.

Chris Davis, Dimplex Renewables business development director, said the scheme was a positive step to encourage renewable energy uptake, but said more information was required on the full domestic RHI, due in October 2012, to provide householders with the confidence to invest.

This was further emphasised by Graham Parkes, Baxi head of low carbon technology sales, who also stated the RHPP represented “a great opportunity to gather information and learn more about low carbon technologies and their benefits” through feedback from householders.

The 1 August launch was applauded by Simon Allan, Plumb Center director of renewables, as it came at a traditionally quiet time for installers and would provide them with more business, which would be welcomed by many affected by the economic downturn.

Simon Holden, Euroheat chairman, said the RHPP would allow off-gas homeowners to move away from expensive oil and electricity options and advised installers to sign up for relevant training courses to ensure they had sufficient expertise in renewable technology.

The use of vouchers, similar to last year’s Boiler Scrappage scheme, was praised by Neil Schofield, Worcester Bosch head of external and government affairs. He was concerned, however, that RHI tariff payments “remain very opaque” and that the gap between the end of RHPP in March 2012 and launch of the domestic RHI scheme would result in a six month dip in demand for renewable technologies.

While confirmation of the RHI in last October’s Comprehensive Spending Review was greeted with enthusiasm by the industry at large, initial enthusiasm has been tempered following delays and lack of further confirmation from the government, but remains positive at present.