Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)


The Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat. RHI is a UK government scheme that pays participants who generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. The government expects the RHI to make a significant contribution towards meeting targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change.

Non-domestic RHI has been open to commercial, industrial, public sector, not for profit and heat networks since November 2011. The scheme is designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat installations and renewable heat alternatives through financial support for owners.

The non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) helps meet the cost of installing renewable heat technologies for businesses, public sector and non-profit organisations. These include, for example, businesses, hospitals, schools, and district heating schemes such as in the case of where one boiler serves multiple homes.

Payments are based on the heat output of your system and are made over 20 years.

Non-Domestic RHI Eligibility

To take part in the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, your installation at your business or organisation must meet Ofgen’s eligibility criteria.

Key eligibility criteria

  • applicant must be the owner of the installation
  • equipment installed and first commissioned on or after 15 July 2009
  • air to water heat pumps, biogas installations with a capacity of more than 200kW and solid biomass CHP installations must be commissioned on or after 4 December 2013
  • equipment new at time of purchase
  • if a grant from public funds has been received, it generally needs to be repaid in most circumstances (refer to the guidance for more information)
  • medium of heat transfer must be liquid or steam, ie no direct air heating
  • installation must be MCS or equivalent EN45011 or ISO 17065 accredited if installed capacity is 45kWth or under – a requirement for solid biomass, heat pumps and solar thermal
  • the metering arrangements must be correct– the right type of meters calibrated and placed in correct locations
  • you can’t use the equipment to only heat a single domestic home

(From Ofgem’s Easy Guide to the Non-domestic RHI)

New rules:

  • you cannot claim RHI to heat a swimming pool unless it’s open to the public (new installations)
  • you cannot claim RHI to dry wood fuel (new installations)
  • you cannot claim RHI to dry waste for landfill (new installations)
  • if you heat a domestic house and use the fact it is coupled with a business in order to claim non domestic RHI, the business must use more than 50% of the heat generated by the biomass installation

Note from the editor:

For a government supposedly encouraging us to use renewable heat, they’re making it progressively more difficult for us to do it.

Domestic RHI was launched 9 April 2014 and open to homeowners, private landlords, social landlords and self-builders.