An upgrade to the UK’s world-leading Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has come into effect, boosting support for businesses to use green sources of energy for heating.

The non-domestic RHI pays organisations for every unit (kWh) of heat produced using eligible renewable technologies, which include biomass, ground and air source heat pump systems.

Key changes to the scheme include increased support for large biomass heat projects, deep geothermal heating, ground source heat pumps and solar heating.

In addition, there is now support under the scheme for air source heat pumps, biomass combined heat and power (CHP), on-site combustion of biogas from anaerobic digestion at all scales (previously limited to <200 kW) and waste-based heating projects using commercial and industrial waste as well as municipal solid waste.

Tariffs have been increased for large biomass boilers (1 MWth to 2p/kWh), solar thermal (to 10p/kWh), ground source heat pumps (two-tier tariff – tier 1, 8.7p/kWh and tier 2, 2.6p/kWh). Deep geothermal heating projects (with a drilling depth over 500 metres) now have a separate tariff of 5p/kWh.

The changes also reduce tariff degression triggers for large biomass, biomethane injection and ground source heat pumps, whilst significantly increasing triggers for small and medium biomass, giving these sectors more room to grow.

The measures have been widely supported by industry with the REA and affiliated trade bodies the Solar Trade Association and Wood Heat Association welcoming the improvements.

Dan Thory from Fisher German said: ‘This offers considerable opportunities for businesses and local authorities looking to save money and reduce their carbon emissions through the installation of a renewable heating system such as a biomass boiler, heat pump or solar thermal.’

REA Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska commented: ‘Almost all renewable heat applications are now supported under the scheme, offering businesses greater choice than ever before on how to sustainably meet their heating needs. Local authorities and housing associations can also benefit from the expanded support for technologies that can feed district heating schemes, such as biomass, geothermal and energy from waste.’