Government Extends RHPP Voucher Scheme
The Government has announced that the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme has been extended, with a second phase – set to be “bigger and better than the original” – due to be introduced in April.
The RHPP is the forerunner to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Extending the scheme will allow more people the opportunity to benefit from renewable heating technologies, such as heat pumps, solar water heating and biomass boilers.
The RHPP was originally launched last July, with £15 million worth of funding set aside. With phase two the pot has been increased by an extra £10 million, making £25 million available through a voucher scheme.
The second phase is also offering social landlords and communities the chance to compete for funding pots of £10 million and £8 million respectively. The grants are designed to encourage people to make the switch to renewable heating.
The Energy Saving Trust is administering the RHPP voucher scheme and to be eligible certain criteria has to be met. Grants offer one-off payments to help cover the costs of the renewable heating technologies and are available as follows:
- £1250 for a ground source heat pump
- £950 towards a biomass boiler
- £850 towards the cost of an air source heat pump
- £300 for a solar thermal system
Homes have to be without mains gas heating to be eligible for the vouchers, however in the case of solar thermal panels it is immaterial what method of heating homeowners utilise.
Commenting on the soon-to-be-launched new RHPP, Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “The new Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme will be bigger and better than the original.
“We’re increasing the budget from £15m to £25m, for the first time we’re including community schemes and there’ll be more social housing schemes that can benefit. Those people who are reliant on expensive oil or electric heating should consider applying to the Premium Payment scheme to cut their fuel bills in the long term.”
The new RHPP voucher scheme opens for pre-registrations on 2nd April before officially launching on 1st May. Further information about how applications can be made for the social housing and communities competitions will be revealed at a later date.
While it’s certainly a positive move that the RHPP voucher scheme has been extended and more money made available, it’s not all good news. The RHI was due to go completely live this Autumn, but that launch has been pushed back to the summer of 2013.
To ensure the success of the scheme long-term, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has said that a formal consultation will be launched in the summer, to look at different policy options. The biggest concern is that the scheme doesn’t go over budget, and one suggest could be to implement a system which would lower tariffs as the scheme grows.
“Putting in place cost control measures for the Renewable Heat Incentive is the prudent thing to do, given this is millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at stake and taking on board the lessons learned from the feed-in tariff scheme,” Barker added.
The full details of the Government’s low carbon heat plans can be viewed by visiting www.dec.gov.uk