Key terms explained for the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

These key terms have been designed as a reference tool when you need more detail on a specific topic.

You can also download this as a pdf: Domestic RHI reference document

Change of ownership

Moving house

I receive Domestic RHI payments and I’m moving house

If you’re planning to sell your property, and your heating system is included in the sale, it’s important that you let us know as it affects your Domestic RHI eligibility. You can do this by phone, email or letter.

You’ll need to contact us 28 days in advance of the sale going through.

By getting this information to us as soon as possible, you’ll allow us to issue you the correct payment. This avoids any need for you to repay any money as you're no longer eligible for payments once you've sold your property.

You agree to this when you apply and it’s part of your ongoing obligations to notify us if your property is transferred to a new owner.

Not notifying us will also cause delays if the new owner plans to join the scheme.

When do your payments stop?

Any remaining payments will be paid to you up until the day before the legal transfer of the property is complete. For example, if the date of transfer is 1 January, you’ll be paid up to and including 31 December.

You’ll then receive any money you’re owed once you've provided us with one of the documents mentioned below.

I’ve just moved into a property with a renewable heating system already registered on the scheme 

If you’re moving into a property with a renewable heating system already accredited to the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, and you want to take over the Domestic RHI payments from the previous owner, you have 12 months from the sale of the property and renewable heating system to apply to the scheme.Your payments will not accrue until we’re satisfied all of the eligibility criteria are met and we’ve sent you a statement of eligibility. You'll need to provide us with one of the documents below to confirm that you're the new owner.

When do your payments start?

Payments will start to accrue from the point that you are accepted onto the scheme. Payments are made following the existing payment schedule of the original application. We will send you a notification of the date of your first payment.

What documents do you need to provide?

You have 12 months from the date of the sale of the property and renewable heating system to submit your application to us.

You need to provide us with one of the following documents as soon as possible after the sale of the property has taken place:

  • A completed TR1 form or Scottish equivalent (such as a deed of disposition);
  • A copy of the title deed showing the date of the transfer of ownership;
  • A letter from a solicitor confirming the sale. The letter should include the property address, your name and the name of the new owner and the legal date of the transfer; or,
  • A TA10 form "fittings and fixtures".

As the new owner, you will need to get the most up to date Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)open key term pop-up and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)open key term pop-up certificate numbers and provide them to us. You can ask the previous owner of the domestic plant for these certificate numbers.

You can download the relevant EPC for your property from the Landmark Registry website in England and Wales or the Energy Savings Trust website in Scotland. Alternatively you can get information or assistance by calling the Landmark Registry on 03300 366 024 or the Energy Saving Trust on 0808 808 2282.

Transfer of ownership in the event of death

If the existing recipient of Domestic RHI payments passes away, the executor of their estate should contact our Applicant Support Centre on as soon as possible and we’ll talk them through the process.

It is possible for the Domestic RHI payments to be transferred to the beneficiary of the estate.

Tel: 0300 0030 744

Email: DomesticRHI@ofgem.gov.uk

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

All renewable heating systems in the Domestic RHI must be certified by MCS. This is an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme supported by government. You’ll need an MCS certificate number to support your application. More.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

This is a report that assesses the energy efficiency of a property and recommends how it can improve. It’s the proof we need that your property is a ‘dwelling’. More.

Commissioning

The commissioning date of your heating system can be found on your MCS certificate.

Your commissioning date is important because it will go towards determining:

  • when you can apply to the scheme; and
  • the tariff rate that you will receive.

‘Commissioning’ is a technical term and for the systems which will typically be approved under the Domestic RHI, will often be the same as the installation date. However, there is an important difference between the two, and it is the commissioning date that is referred to in the scheme regulations.

The installation date is simply the date on which the equipment for the heating system was installed.

The commissioning date of the heating system is the date on which any tests and procedures that amount to the usual industry practices for that type of system were completed. These tests will demonstrate that the heating system is capable of operating and generating heat, and that it complies with industry standards. For the majority of Domestic RHI applicants, this testing will happen immediately following the installation of the equipment and the commissioning date will therefore be the same as the installation date.

The commissioning date is also the start of the window in which you are able to make an application. You have one year from the commissioning date shown on your MCS certificate to submit an application to us.

If you submit an application to Ofgem outside of this time period, you will not be eligible for the scheme.

 

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge on property developers designed to raise funds for Local Authorities to spend on infrastructure. Some Local Authorities will exempt custom-built properties from this levy. If you have applied for the CIL exemption, the confirmation letter from your Local Authority will be an acceptable form of evidence that your property is a custom-build.

Consumer Prices Index (CPI)

Applications submitted for the Domestic RHI on or after 1 April 2016 have their tariffs adjusted in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). The CPI is a measure of inflation and CPI rates are produced annually by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Tariffs will be adjusted in accordance with CPI on 1 April every year. If you have grant funding that will be deducted from your payments you should be aware that the amount to be deducted will also be subject to CPI adjustment.

Applications submitted for the Domestic RHI before 1 April 2016 have their tariffs adjusted in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI)open key term pop-up.

Retail Prices Index (RPI)

This is the measure of inflation published monthly by the Office for National Statistics. All Domestic RHI tariff rates will be adjusted in line with the RPI. If you have grant funding, the amount deducted from your scheme payments will also be adjusted. More.

Consumer Protection Codes

These consumer codes are set up to promote renewables and protect consumers. Their members are from the renewable industry and they have to adhere to the code, which is backed by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. All Domestic RHI heating systems and installers must be MCS certified. A condition of MCS Certification is membership to The Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC), Home Insulation and Energy Systems Contractors Scheme (HIES) , or The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).

They can help deal with complaints regarding breaches of the consumer code, such as:

  • where misleading information has been provided regarding the scheme or the renewable technology installed,
  • where the heating system is underperforming, or
  • where the information in the contract and the actual service provided do not match up.

They can’t deal with complaints about underperforming equipment, repairs or matters regarding the safety of the heating system.

Please note: MCS and the consumer code organisations work closely together to address complaints for domestic consumers. If you do have a complaint, consider addressing it to each organisation to make sure it can be fully investigated.

MCS is a quality assurance scheme that certifies installers and products. It ensures that certified products have been installed and commissioned to agreed standards. If you have a complaint regarding an MCS installer or product, MCS commits to dealing with it fairly and impartially.

You can read about making complaints on our webpage.

Contract ID

This key-term is relevant to Assignment of Rights, which came into effect on 27 June 2018.

When investor registration is successul, the contract(s) that the investor submitted to us, which is to be used in their agreements with applicants, will be issued with a Contract ID. This number will reference that approved contract on our system. 

Cooker stoves

A cooker stove is a biomass stove which is capable of generating heat for the purpose of cooking food. The cooker stove must be designed and installed to ensure that heat generated for that purpose is incidental to, and cannot be controlled separately from, any heat generated for the purpose of space heating or domestic hot water heating.

Custom-builds

The Domestic RHI scheme is primarily designed to support the retrofit of renewable heating systems. It is designed to help you make the switch from an existing fossil fuel or electric heating system to a renewable one.

Although the scheme was designed for the retrofit of renewable heating systems there is a special category of new-build properties that are eligible to apply to the scheme.  These are technically known as ‘eligible new-builds’ but we generally refer to them as custom-builds.

If your renewable heating system was installed during the construction of your property (e.g. so that it is the first heating system in a new property), and was not custom-built it won’t be eligible for the scheme. This applies if your heating system was commissioned (you can check your MCS certificate to see your renewable heating systems commissioning date) before your property was first occupied.

The rules around this are set out below.

Custom-builds

A property is custom-built where an individual funds the construction and either commissions a builder or architect to create a ‘custom-built’ property for them or builds it themselves as a DIY ‘self-build’ project.

Newly built properties built by non-individuals won’t be eligible for the Domestic RHI – for example this applies where a commercial developer or a social landlord has built the property using company funds, even if the properties are later sold to individuals.

In order for a custom-build property to be eligible, it will need to meet the following criteria:

  1. The property must have been built principally using the labour or resources of the first owner. This means that the first owner of the property must have either physically constructed it or financed its construction. Where the first owner financed the construction of the property, this can be through the use of a custom-build mortgage or loan.
  2. The first owner and all subsequent owners of the property must be individuals. The property cannot have been owned, wholly or partly, and at any stage, by a person who is not an individual. Companies or organisations that have constructed new properties and installed a renewable heating system as part of this construction will not be considered custom-builders. If you buy an “off-plan” property from a developer, it is unlikely to be eligible, even if you input substantially into the design, including instructing the developer to install renewable heating.

If you apply for a renewable heating system that was installed in your property before it was first occupied, you may need to provide us with evidence showing that your property is a custom-build:

  • If we ask you to provide evidence we will require documentation confirming you or the first owner funded the build of the property (for example an invoice for substantial structural materials or work).
  • We may also require evidence that the property has not been owned by a company or organisation (for example the title deeds for the property)

Is my property a custom-build or a retrofit?

Please note the custom-build rules only apply where your renewable heating system was installed before your property was first occupied.

Replacement heating systems commissioned after your property was first occupied do not count as custom-builds:

  • If you custom-built your own home several years ago and are only now replacing your old boiler with a renewable heating system, this would be a replacement.
  • If you have bought a fairly new property in which a fossil fuel or electric heating system was included during the construction of the property, and you replace this heating system with an eligible renewable technology after the property was first occupied, then this is a replacement.

Conversions and renovations

Renovations: If you renovated your domestic property significantly (e.g. you stripped the building down to a shell and re-built, or extended the property), it will have been occupied, at some point, before the renewable heating system was commissioned. You will not be able to meet the custom-build criteria and will need to follow the normal ‘retrofit’ application route.

Conversions: If your property was converted from a building used for non-residential purposes (e.g. a barn or warehouse) into a dwelling, it will not have been occupied (as a ‘dwelling’) while it was used for non-residential purposes. If your converted property was not occupied before the renewable heating system was installed, you will need to meet the custom-build eligibility criteria.