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RHI receives cautious welcome from industry

Government incentives for ground-source and air-source heat pumps have been cheered by the industry, although questions over funding for the plan remain.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change unveiled the Renewable Heat Incentive at the start of February, allowing consumers and businesses to claim cash for use of the renewable
products.

Anyone who has installed the pumps will be able to claim credits of typically £1,000 a ear,
retrospectively back to July 2009.

The scheme will come in in April 2011 and is currently out to consultation, but questions  remain.

“The initial reaction has been fairly positive. My only question is: how is this going to be paid for?” said Mike Nankivell of air conditioning fi rm Space Air.

While the  accompanying electrical renewables scheme – the feed-in tariffs – will allow consumers and businesses to claim back the cost of electricity they put into the national grid through
electricity providers, it is harder to see how such a scheme would work for heat.

Mr Nankivell said the scheme also restated the pumps status as renewable energy products. “One of the diffi culties is getting UK Plc to understand that heat pumps are now offi cially classifi ed as renewables.”

The tariff levels proposed for the heat pumps vary according to their size.

Ground and air source heat pumps up to 45 kW will qualify for tariffs of 7 and 7.5 pence/kWh respectively.

Larger products – between 45 kW and 350 kW will qualify for tariffs of 5.5 and 2 pence/kWh, again for ground- and air-source respectively.

A third category, for ground source heat pumps above 350kW, will qualify for a tariff of 1.5 pence/kWh.

The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme is out to consultation, the deadline for which is 26 April.

DECC said: “Under the proposed tariffs the installation of a ground source heat pump in an average semi-detached house with adequate insulation levels could be rewarded with £1,000 a year and lead to savings of £200 per year if used instead of heating oil.”