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When it comes to the RHI, installers must educate their customers

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has been set up to encourage the installation of energy- saving technology in domestic homes by offering money back for those who take up the scheme.

It may sound simple, but the system is fairly complex and there is a great deal of research to be done before consumers can sign up. To help clear up the jargon and make it easier to understand, we’ve put together a list of the most important things installers should be aware of before encouraging their customers to sign up to the RHI.

Before end users can join the RHI, they will need to have a Green Deal Assessment carried out on their property. The Green Deal covers a range of energy-saving measures and gives a better picture of which ones are suitable for the property in question.

The assessment will measure how much energy a property uses and its overall efficiency to tell the customer whether or not the RHI would be worth going for. If not, there are a number of alternatives that could be explored instead.

The RHI allows the end user to claim money back on their energy bills on certain renewable technologies such as air-source heat pumps (ASHP), ground-source heat pumps and biomass boilers. For example, they may be able to claim up to 7.3p back for every kilowatt hour of energy used through their ASHP.

Different technologies and energy-saving measures offer different tariffs, so the end user needs to understand which ones are applicable to them when working out how much they could get back.

Once the customer has signed up to the RHI and had their renewable technology installed, the scheme will run for seven years. During those seven years, the tariffs they are able to claim back are exempt from income tax and are index linked, which means they are adjusted for inflation every year in April.

Different technologies can also be installed and receive separate tariffs. When staggered, these tariffs could run together for longer than seven years.

Once the customer has their assessment in place, they will need an accredited installer to fit the technology. The equipment must also come from an approved retailer. If not, the project may be ineligible for the scheme.

The RHI does not just offer money back on the homeowner’s energy use, but also contributes to the wider environmental picture. More of us should be focusing on saving energy and reducing waste if we wish to conserve our natural resources and keep energy prices stable in the long term.

It is important to remember that the RHI is just one of many options for homeowners seeking renewable heating. However, there is a great deal of support available for those wishing to take it up and it could end up making a big difference to home energy bills in 2015 and beyond.

Charlotte Barnes is digital marketing manager at Spiral Media

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