On 29 May 2018 the UK Government gave its long-awaited response in respect of non-domestic RHIs on replacement biomass plant. Thankfully, the answer was ‘yes’. Starting 1 October 2018, you will be able to continue to claim non-domestic RHIs if you replace your biomass boiler ‘like-for-like’.
Like-for-like refers to technology type and capacity. So, you can install a new biomass boiler to replace one that is causing you problems. But you will lose your RHIs if you switch technologies, for example from biomass to ground source heat pump, or heat pump to biomass.
If you replace your old biomass boiler with one that has a greater heat capacity, your RHI claim will be restricted to the capacity in your original RHI accreditation. Any additional capacity will not be eligible for RHIs. However, you will retain the tariff level from your original accreditation.
So, if you installed a biomass system when tariffs were 9p per kilowatt hour, you can replace your boiler and continue to receive the 9p tariff for the remainder of the 20-year accreditation. There are also guidelines setting out the RHI implications if you put in a lower capacity boiler than the original.
The government response says that, with one exception, replacement plant will be ‘subject to the same accreditation criteria as applied to the original installation’. It’s not yet clear to what information you’ll need to send to Ofgem when you replace old kit with new.
The one change to the accreditation criteria is air quality standards. All replacement plant must meet current air quality standards, even if the original application did not need to do so.
Replacing your biomass plant
We’d be very happy to visit you to help you assess whether it’s worth you replacing your current biomass boiler, or other biomass plant. Our team have been involved with more than a thousand successful biomass installations.
If you’d like any advice on the changes, or to discuss boiler or plant replacement, please give us a call on 01437 761320.