Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Update

The Government have recently announced an uplift in Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments from April 2017 for Air Source Heat Pumps as follows:

Current Tariff: (p/kWh) 7.51p

Uplifted Tariff: (p/kWh) 10.02p

People who join the scheme receive quarterly payments over seven years. The rates are set by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), formerly known as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

This is important news for any councils and housing associations with off-gas properties and should be assessed on the impact the extra subsidy has on budgets for any upgrade plans for these properties.

We are already seeing a big increase in demand for heat pumps and are currently helping a number of councils and housing associations to develop upgrade programs.  The most recent project we are working on which is an upgrade to 550 off gas properties costing a net of only £750 per property after the RHI subsidy.

The table below illustrates The RHI payments received on a 4 bed council property over 7 years.

4 Bed Typical RHI payments* Using a 9kW Panasonic Heat Pump
Typical Heat Demand 13,038 kW hours pa
Typical Hot Water Demand 2,784 kW hours pa
Heat Pump SPF 3.24
Total RHI Payments 7 Years £8,272

*The payback figures above are for guideline purposes only and may differ subject to initial property surveys of your stock.

The cost for a full heating upgrade to the above property including all pipework and radiators and the installation of a Panasonic Aquarea heat pump and tank is £8,900.  After the RHI payments received of £8,272 the net cost is £628.   This offers significant savings over traditional heating upgrades for off gas properties.   For example to upgrade the property with new storage heaters would cost at least £2,500.  That’s a saving of over £1,800 over storage heaters on cost of install.

Not only are they the cheapest option to run, due to their efficiency they also provide a cushion against future energy price rises protecting residents from steep rises in their future heating bills. In the above example the heat pump will use over 10,000 less units of electricity than storage heaters and save over 5 tonnes of CO2 a year.

How we can help

At Ecosphere we have the experience and knowledge to help, having won the Panasonic Pro Partner Award for the Best Social Housing Project in Europe in 2015 for the work we undertook with Wealden District Housing developing a heating upgrade program to combat fuel poverty.   This targeted off-gas properties on a mixture of oil and storage heaters and to date we have installed over 230 air source heat pumps saving residents hundreds of pounds a year in heating bills.

We have an experienced in-house design team including a SAP / EPC assessor so can accurately model the costs and returns (RHI income) of any upgrades and savings for residents.   We will work with you to identify and analyse your stock, model the costs and returns and then create a program of upgrades.

We understand resident engagement is key – if heat pumps are an unfamiliar technology we are also happy to install pilot heat pumps and offer demonstrations to residents. For further information on how we approached the Wealden project and successfully engaged with residents please see the case study on our website.

Post installation we take care of all the paperwork for you including the management of RHI claims and liaising with OFGEM if required.    We also offer full operational and maintenance packages to ensure the efficient running of the heat pumps.

Finally, we have finance in place that will finance a project over 7-10 years and avoid upfront capital costs if required.

If you would like further information or would like to arrange a meeting where we can introduce ourselves and bring along more information please contact Zoe Forbes on 01825 880600 or email her at

Ecosphere Marketing Team.




















Ecosphere win Panasonic Pro Award

Ecosphere Renewables have won the Panasonic Pro Award for our ground breaking Heat Pump project for Wealden District Council.
The project involved installing over 200 heat pumps across Wealden District Councils Social Housing Portfolio in areas that are of gas.


Panasonic’s heat pump technology qualifies for the governments RHI scheme, meaning the council will benefit from an average payment of £500 per property per year over seven years. It has saved the council tonnes of C02.

“This is one of the largest projects we have ever worked on – with strict budgets, hundreds of tenants relying on our install and tight deadlines to work to, we had no room for fault when specifying our choice of technology. We have installed Panasonic’s heat pumps for many years and have always found its systems to be one of the most reliable and efficient technologies on the market today,” says Sam Phyall, Renewable Energy Manager at Ecosphere. “We are proud of the impact our installs have had on the community already. One family of five had their solid fuel back boiler with separate immersion heater replaced with an Aquarea unit; they are now saving £150 a month on their heating bills compared to before.”

Panasonic’s Aquarea air source heat pumps have a COP of 5.08, meaning for every one unit of heat the pump consumes, a further 5.08 units of heat is created. This will reduce the Wealden District’s carbon footprint by an impressive 5000 tonnes over the next seven years and, on average, will save tenants £500 a year on heating bills. By replacing oil boilers and inefficient storage heaters, Wealden District Council has also seen a significant reduction in maintenance costs and breakdown call outs.

Brighton primary school pupils raise £13k to fit solar panels

Pupils at a Brighton primary school helped raise £13,600 to pay for solar panels to be fitted to the canteen roof.

And today (Thursday 9 July) Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas went along to St Luke’s to congratulate the school’s “Eco-Warriors”.

The Green MP had a chance to see the solar array which is expected to bring £2,245 a year in financial benefits for the school.

St Luke's Primary School eco warriors with Caroline Lucas, parent Stella Pentecost, teacher Fiona Byrne, head Jonathan Cooper and Zoe Forbes from Ecosphere

And she met parent Stella Pentecost, who came up with the idea of installing the panels, teacher and parent Fiona Byrne and head teacher Jonathan Cooper.

The project has been supported by the carbon reduction campaign group 10:10 and the panels were installed during the May half-term holiday by Lewes company Ecosphere.

The school has used the project to help them learn about maths, science and the environment.

Mr Cooper said: “It’s absolutely wonderful that we’ve reached our total and have now installed solar panels.

St Luke's Primary School solar panels“I would like to say thank you to 10:10, our solar school team, parents, carers and our generous donors. We’re very lucky to have such a caring and committed community.


Our Eco-Warriors have worked tirelessly too, organising many fundraising events from comics to cakes to talent shows.

“It’s been an amazing journey, leaving us with many happy memories and truly enriching the children’s understanding of green issues and sustainability.

Caroline Lucas said: “This project at St Luke’s is truly inspirational. Thanks to the hard work of parents, carers and the PTFA, St Luke’s now has a fully operational solar array that will create electricity, cut carbon emissions and serve as a fantastic learning resource for pupils at the school.

“I’m very proud to be part of the launch of this project and I hope that it serves as an inspiration for other schools in Brighton and across the UK.”

Ecosphere’s director of communications Zoe Forbes said: “At Ecosphere we believe the children of today are the planet’s caretakers of the future.

“St Luke’s students have learned how important renewable energy is for our planet and it has been wonderful to see how proud the children are of the solar panels.

“We would delighted if every school in Brighton installed solar and hope to work with Caroline Lucas to help realise this dream.”

For more information about the project and funding options, visit

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is Britain’s second investment choice after property

When asked about their preferred investment areas, a survey of the British public showed 43% chose property; 33% renewable energy; 23% traditional energy (oil, coal, gas);

When asked about their preferred investment areas, a survey of the British public showed 43% chose property; 33% renewable energy; 23% traditional energy (oil, coal, gas);

Renewable energy is the British public’s second investment choice above ‘traditional’ energy and manufacturing, according to a new national survey.

The ‘Great British Money Survey’, carried out by One Poll, gathered insight into the spending and investment habits of 2,000 people across the United Kingdom.

When asked about their preferred investment areas, 43% chose property; 33% renewable energy; 23% traditional energy (oil, coal, gas); 19% manufacturing; 15% consumer goods; 14% hospitality; 12% transport and 3% ‘other’.

Commissioned by finance platform, Abundance Generation, the survey also showed that Brit’s place most importance on financial return; risk; transparency; environmental and ethical impact when deciding their investments.

Findings mirror DECC’s public attitudes tracking survey from September, which showed that 76% of the public want to see more renewable energy in the UK.

The survey also showed that renewable energy is the top investment choice for 18 to 24 year olds, over property, while 75% would be unhappy if their money was invested in companies that damage the environment or are otherwise unethical.

However, surprisingly 22% are happy with their money being invested in companies that damage the environment or are otherwise unethical, it found.

Abundance Generation co-founder and joint managing director Bruce Davis said: “We’re now not only seeing majority public support for renewable energy, but people actively wanting to put their money in it too. Britain is a nation in love with property, so it’s no wonder this is at number one, but to see renewables favoured above old energy is a great vote of confidence in the sector.

“We know that from the rapid take up of crowd funded renewables, investors are actively looking for inflation beating returns. People would much rather get them through investing in the real economy in assets that they can see, trust and believe in,” added Davis.

Labour calls for clarity on which 'green levies' are under review

Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex writes to Ed Davey calling for clarification on whether or not renewable energy schemes are at risk of being cut

Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex has challenged the government to clear up once and for all whether renewable energy schemes will be subject to the Prime Minister’s “green levy” review following conflicting signals from Ministers.

Renewable energy companies were relieved earlier this week when Conservative Energy Minister Baroness Verma declared that “no one is talking about changing support for large-scale renewables or feed-in tariffs”, indicating that the Renewables Obligation and upcoming contract for difference schemes would not be cut as a result of the review.

Renewable energy trade associations also confirmed this week that they had received assurances from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that “between now and 2020, the support we give to low carbon electricity will increase year-on-year to £7.6bn – a tripling of the support for renewable energy”.

However, Conservative Energy Minister Michael Fallon had previously insisted that the government was looking at all “green levy” schemes as part of the review.

When asked by Labour MP Dr Alan Whitehead at yesterday’s Energy Statement in the House of Commons to clarify which schemes were under review, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey failed to offer any assurance that renewables schemes would be exempted. “The honourable Gentleman, who is very knowledgeable in this area, will have to await the outcome of the review,” Davey replied. “It will be announced at the Autumn Statement or before. He and his colleagues will hear the results of the review at that time.”

The response prompted a letter from Greatrex to Davey calling on him to clarify precisely which schemes are being reviewed following the Prime Minister’s controversial pledge to “roll back” some “green levies”.

“In this morning’s Annual Energy Statement you were asked by Dr Alan Whitehead MP which of the levies on consumer bills were subject to the review initiated by the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 30 October 2013,” the letter states. “Your response failed to answer the question, and leaves many concerned that either you do not know or you would rather not say.”

It calls on Davey to confirm which of the carbon floor price, energy company obligation, warm homes discount, renewable obligation certificates, feed-in tariffs, and contracts for difference are subject to review. “Given the level of concern and confusion caused by your response today, I – and many others – would appreciate a swift response,” Greatrex writes.

Sources have indicated that the schemes most likely to be reformed are the Energy Company Obligation efficiency scheme and warm homes discount fuel poverty grant scheme, with speculation mounting that some of the costs of the schemes could be moved onto general taxation.

Renewable energy firms have been offered assurances that there will not be late changes to support schemes designed to encourage investment in clean energy, and Davey has pledged to “fight like a tiger” to protect “green levies” that serve to curb energy bills in the medium to long term, while also helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

However, some Conservative MPs are pushing for the review to cover all “green levies” and are keen to see support for renewable energy schemes cut alongside support for energy efficiency schemes.

Responding to the letter a DECC spokesman gave the clearest indication yet that renewable energy schemes would not be discussed as part of the green levies review.

“The Government is looking at how to get people’s energy bills as low as possible to help hard-pressed families,” he said in an emailed statement. “We’ve already increased competition, brought new players in to the market to offer consumers real choice and the most vulnerable are getting direct help with their bills this winter. We’ll continue this work to make sure consumers are getting a good deal.

“No one is talking about changing investment incentives for renewables, such as the Renewables Obligation, Contracts for Difference and feed in tariffs, which are essential for investor confidence in the renewables sector and our commitments to a low-carbon economy. Between now and 2020, the support we give to low carbon electricity will increase year-on-year to £7.6bn – a tripling of the support for renewable energy.”

Rising energy bills: How are you set for winter?

According to one of the leading consumer organisations in the UK, rises in energy bills expected this winter – the Big Six are forecast to raise annual bills by as much as £120 – could be catastrophic for the finances of UK property residents. So what are you doing to get ready for the colder weather ahead?

With winter on the way, Gillian Guy, chief executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said price increases at this time of the year could prove the final nail in the coffin for many people when it comes to being able to afford their bills.

“It’s hard to justify high profits when rising bills mean that many families have to chose between heating their homes and putting food on the table. Energy firms must keep price rises to a minimum and make sure that any drops in wholesale costs are passed on to customers,” she added.

Ms Guy said providers must do more to make bills more affordable for consumers, but there are things homeowners can do to ensure their properties are as ready for the colder weather and efficient as possible.

For example, did you know most heat escapes through the roof of your house? This means if your roof is not doing its job, you are essentially throwing money away.

To start with, get yourself up a ladder and check the health of roof tiles. If all of them are not in good nick and in place then they will need replaced. This is a vital way to conserve heat and lower gas bills.

You can also back this up by making use of insulation in the loft. This will make the house feel notably warmer throughout the winter and stop the heat simply circulating around the attic area, which will do you no good.

Other steps you can take ahead of the colder months descending on us could include installing draught strips around window panes and door frames. These may not seem like much, but the stickers can drastically reduce the wind-chill factor in the home. Other low-cost options that have a significant impact can include things like insulating wallpaper.

You might also want to look at installing a more efficient boiler, if you have the funds, as newer and more efficient models will save substantial amounts of money in the long run.

Wealden Disrict Council

Wealden District Council continue to lead the way in reducing the councils carbon footprint and working towards battling fuel poverty for the tenants of properties across the district.

Ecosphere will continue it’s roll out of Solar PV across it’s sheltered home schemes vastly reducing electricity bills.

Ecosphere will also be installing Panasonic Heat Pumps into their properties replacing expensive gas and electric heating systems with a much more economical system that will cut tenants bills dramatically and also reduce co2 emissions.

Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs set

Farm house and buildings

Farmers and rural landowners installing renewable heat technology in their homes will be able to apply for up to 19.2p/kWh in government support from spring 2014.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last week (Friday 12 July) confirmed the tariffs for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme – 7.3p/kWh for air-source heat pumps, 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers, 18.8p/kWh for ground-source heat pumps and at least 19.2p/kWh for solar thermal.

An extension of the non-domestic RHI, which has been up and running since November 2011, the domestic scheme will cover new projects, schemes installed since 15 July 2009 and any installations currently being funded by the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) grant scheme.

“The RHI is designed to encourage householders to switch to renewable heat from traditional heating systems, in order to save money on bills, cut carbon and meet renewables targets,” said Dan Thory from Fisher German.

“Renewable heat can be very cost effective, especially for those living off the gas grid, and therefore is of particular interest to farmers and those living in rural areas.”

Edward Holloway from Knight Frank’s renewable energy team welcomed the news, but warned that the scheme would require homeowners to have a Green Deal assessment and meet minimum loft (250mm) and cavity wall insulation targets.