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Latest RHI take-up figures highlight scheme’s failings

In its first year of operation, the domestic RHI has failed to attract sufficient support, says OFTEC.

Latest statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) show just 11,149 new renewable installations have been completed since the RHI launched in April 2014 – fewer than 1,000 per month.

OFTEC has calculated around 10,800 installations would be needed every month to reach the government’s goal of 750,000 installations by 2020.

Director general Jeremy Hawksley said: “Current take-up of the RHI is falling way behind the targets DECC set out in its initial impact assessment and just serve to highlight the considerable failings of the scheme, which OFTEC anticipated from the outset.

“The high upfront costs of installing renewable technologies, which are typically between £9,000 and £14,000, are prohibitive for all but the wealthy few. Even with RHI incentive payments, most people simply can’t afford to take up the scheme, even if they want to.

“Exacerbating the low take-up of the RHI is also the complexity of both the application process and the practical issues involved in installing renewable technologies.”

Members of the H&V News LinkedIn group have been debating what the new government will need to do to drive more engagement for the RHI.

One member argued it was difficult to engineer excellence when clients only look at the bottom line, especially in the domestic marketplace where there are a lot of companies selling products rather than solutions.

Another said the government would need to incentivise more to encourage consumers to lock away huge capital.

With the election now behind us, Mr Hawksley said that a full review of the domestic RHI was essential.

He asked for the RHI to be replaced by a more joined-up carbon reduction and energy-efficiency policy that would encourage far greater consumer buy-in.

“This would still include renewable technology incentives, but also encompass more affordable measures such as a boiler scrappage scheme to incentivise the switch to high-efficiency condensing boilers,” Mr Hawksley added.

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