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

Making a financial contribution

To be eligible for the scheme you (or a previous owner of the heating system) must have made some financial contribution towards the cost of purchasing or installing your heating system.

If the cost of purchase and installation of your heating system was paid in full by someone else, eg an organisation, individual (including family members) or a combination of the two then you will not be eligible for the scheme.

If you have paid for the heating system using a loan, we will see this as you making a financial contribution, as the loan must be repaid.

Local Authorities

Funding that Local Authorities use out of their annual budget will be seen as them making a financial contribution.

Metering for performance

This information only applies if you have a heat pump. If you don’t have a heat pump then go to the metering for payment section to see if your plant needs to be metered for payment.

The Government has introduced changes to the Domestic RHI Regulations. Changes were introduced in two stages. The first stage of changes to the Domestic Scheme came into effect on 20 September 2017. The second stage came into effect on 22 May 2018.

For more information about changes to the scheme and what they mean to you, please see our changes to the scheme webpage and our Factsheet: Important changes to the Domestic RHI Scheme.

After 22 May 2018, all new Domestic RHI applications for heat pumps are required to have an electricity meter arrangement that measures the electricity consumed by it to generate heat.

To receive Domestic RHI payments, you must ensure your meters are properly calibrated, installed and in good working order.

To comply with this requirement, your MCS installer needs to install at least one of the following electricity meter arrangements:

The meter(s) will be required to record and display:

  • electricity used by the plant to generate heat;
  • electrical input into any supplementary electric heater controlled by the same control system as the heat pump; and
  • electrical input into any immersion heater for a domestic hot water cylinder where the immersion heater is controlled by the same control system as the heat pump.

This will need to be added on your MCS Certificate. For full details and examples, please read our Essential Guide to Metering.

Note: If there are multiple supplementary or immersion heaters controlled by the same control system as the heat pump, a single meter can be installed to record the total combined electrical input; or, each heater can be metered separately. Metering input to each heater separately could help monitor the efficiency of the heat pump and identify if there is an issue with an individual immersion heater/supplementary heater. Each meter is also required to have a label which identifies the plant or component that’s being metered.

In the majority of cases you’ll only require a single meter, but it’s possible that more meters may be needed. In some cases up to two further meters could also be required to measure the domestic hot water immersion heater. This will need to be added on your MCS Certificate. For full details and examples, please read our Essential Guide to Metering.

The metering for performance requirement is aimed at making the measurement of performance of the heating systems possible. It’s separate from, and different to, any requirement to be metered for RHI payments. Unless you are also required to have meters for payment, Domestic RHI payments will still be based on the heat demand listed on your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), up to the relevant heat demand limit.

You won’t be required to submit electricity meter readings to us unless you have meters for payment. However, BEIS recommends you monitor the electricity (kWh) your heating system uses on a regular basis and speak to your MCS installer if your heat pump isn’t performing as efficiently as you’d expect.

If you commissioned your plant before these changes came into effect but applied to the scheme after, you’ll need an MCS installer to install electricity meters before you can make an application to the Domestic RHI scheme.

For more detailed information, please read our Essential Guide to Metering.

Metering and Monitoring Service Package (MMSP)

The Government has introduced changes to the Domestic RHI Regulations. Changes were introduced in two stages. The first stage of changes to the Domestic Scheme came into effect on 20 September 2017. The second stage came into effect on 22 May 2018.

For more information about changes to the scheme and what they mean to you, please see our changes to the scheme webpage and our Factsheet: Important changes to the Domestic RHI Scheme.

A Metering and Monitoring Service Package (MMSP) is similar to a service contract and is a useful way of checking how well your heating system is performing. People who are successful in registering an MMSP receive financial support for installing the package. The package will also provide comprehensive data which will inform future research on the performance of heat pumps. MMSP is only available for heat pumps, or biomass boilers that burn wood pellets (not biomass pellet stoves or any other biomass boilers).

The MMSP consists of high specification heat meters, electricity meters and temperature sensors installed on the heating system. It will log data at least every two minutes, and your installer will be able to see the data. If your application and MMSP agreement meet the requirements, we will pay you the applicable MMSP amount along with your quarterly tariff payments to help cover some of the costs of the MMSP installation.

As well as entitling you to separate payments, an MMSP typically meets requirements when you are ‘Metering for Payment’. Additional meters would not need to be installed to calculate quarterly Domestic RHI payments.

You can apply for MMSP payments at any point throughout the duration of your accreditation to the RHI scheme. This means you can also apply at the same time as you apply to Domestic RHI, but your MMSP can only be registered if and when your heating system is accredited. If your membership with the Domestic RHI is terminated, your MMSP registration will also end.

See below for a payment example for a heat pump:

Applicant successfully registers at the same time as  domestic plant accreditation £805 + (£115 x  7 years) = £1,610
Applicant successfully registers in the last year of their Domestic RHI membership £805 + (£115 x 1 year) = £920

See below for a pellet biomass boiler calculation example:

Applicant successfully registers at the same time as  domestic plant accreditation £700 + (£100 x 7 years) = £1,400
Applicant successfully registers in the last year of their Domestic RHI membership £700 + (£100 x 1 year) = £800

The packages are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 11,255 MMSP packages available in total. We publish the data quarterly on our website.

For more details, and to see how much extra you can be paid, please see our Essential Guide to Metering and Monitoring Service Packages (MMSP) for further information.

Metering for Payment

Metering for payment only applies for biomass plants and heat pumps. Solar thermal for heating domestic hot water never has to be metered for payment.

Most people will have their Domestic RHI payments based on estimated heat demand, using details found on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) open key term pop-up.  In certain situations we can’t easily or accurately estimate this and, in these cases, people are instead required to install meters and submit readings every three months. We need this information so that we can work out how much to pay you.

There are various situations where you will need to install meters for payment - the three most common ones are:

  1. Where you have a back-up heating technology, such as a gas or oil boiler.
  2. Where you have a biomass heating system that isn’t both designed and installed to heat the whole property.
  3. Where your property is occupied for less than 183 days in the 12 months prior to applying to the Domestic RHI, and any time whilst you’re a member of the Domestic RHI scheme (unless your property is a Custom-buildsopen key term pop-up)
  4. If your circumstances change during their participation in the scheme, metering may become a condition for them to carry on receiving payments, even though payments were on an estimated heat demand basis to begin with.

If you need help submitting your meter readings for payment, please read our Helpsheet: How to submit meter readings.

For further information, please see the Essential Guide to Metering or the Essential Guide Metering and Monitoring Service Packages.

 

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.

Custom-builds

Generally, heating systems installed during the construction of a property won’t be eligible for the Domestic RHI. However, there is an exception, where the property is deemed an 'eligible new-build' because it’s a ‘custom-build’ or 'self-build'. More.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

MCS refers to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. It is a requirement of the Domestic RHI scheme that all heating systems are certified by MCS. MCS is an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), formerly known as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). MCS certifies both products and installation companies to help ensure that Microgeneration products are installed to a high standard.

You will need to provide an MCS certificate number as part of your application, to confirm that your heating system has been installed in line with the MCS installation standards (see below). Applicants who do not have an MCS certificate will not be eligible for the Domestic RHI. This is because MCS is currently the only certification body approved by BEIS for the Domestic RHI scheme.

The MCS website provides lists of certified installers and products.

Any other certification body would need to be accredited under EN 45011 or EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012 and be considered equivalent to MCS in order for Ofgem/BEIS to approve them as a certification body for the scheme.

MCS Standards

Heating systems installed on or after scheme launch will need to meet the following MCS installation standards* (the MCS certificate for your heating system will be used as proof that these standards have been met):

  • where the plant is a biomass plant, version 4.0 of the document entitled “Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3004 requirements for contractors undertaking the supply, design, installation, set to work, commissioning and handover of solid biofuel heating systems” published on 16th December 2013;
  • where the plant is a heat pump, version 4.0 of the document entitled “Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3005 requirements for contractors undertaking the supply, design, installation, set to work, commissioning and handover of microgeneration heat pump systems” published on 16th December 2013; or
  • where the plant is a solar thermal plant, version 4.0 of the document entitled “Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3001 requirements for contractors undertaking the supply, design, installation, set to work, commissioning and handover of solar heating microgeneration systems” published on 16th December 2013;

If your heating system was installed and first commissioned before this date, it will need to meet the MCS standards that applied at the time of installation.

*MCS have issued the new installation standards MIS 3001 and MIS 3005. If your renewable technology is installed using one of these standards it will not affect your eligibility to the scheme. This is because The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2015 list these standards.

MCS Compliance Certificate

MCS have recently introduced Compliance Certificates for heat generating technologies. Compliance Certificates are effectively checklists which confirm that your heating system was installed according to MCS standards and records key information about the heating system. Your installer should ensure that you are provided with a copy of your Compliance Certificate.

We will not require you to submit a copy of your Compliance Certificate as we will be able to access the relevant information via MCS.

Model Contract

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

The model contract(s) is an approved template contract. It is designed to facilitate Assignment of Rights for investors and applicants, while maintaining consumer protections. It is written in clear language and sets out the rights and obligations for both parties. We strongly encourage Investors to use the model contract in their agreements with applicants.

Multiple products

If you are unsure what is meant by ‘product’, please see Product eligibility listopen key term pop-up.

There are a number of circumstances where you may be able to install multiple products, and apply for these in one application. These scenarios have been outlined below. You will not be able to make separate applications for two products at the same property, unless one of the products is a solar thermal system. You may be allowed to make a single application for multiple products if they are the same technology and have been commissioned at the same time (see Commissioning open key term pop-up for further information on what 'commissioned' means).

We will ask you to send through all related MCS certificates as evidence. If your products were commissioned at different times, or are different technologies, you will need to choose which product to apply for. You will also be required to be metered for payment. For more information, please see the Essential guide to metering.

Product Scenario

Eligible?

Further information

Two or more of the same eligible product, commissioned at the same time.

Both products may be eligible.

If you have two of the same product commissioned at the same time, they may be considered to be two parts of the same heating system and should normally receive the same MCS certificate. The system capacity will be the combined capacity of the two products and, providing there is one MCS certificate, the application could be processed automatically.

Two or more of the same technology type, but different eligible products, commissioned at the same time.

Both products may be eligible.

If you have two different products of the same technology type (for example two air source heat pumps with different manufacturers), you may be able to make an application for one heating system (which is comprised of two different products). It is likely the products will receive separate MCS certificates, and will therefore be reviewed by our team.

Two or more of the same eligible product, commissioned at different times.

One product only.

If you have two products that were first commissioned at different times, they will be considered to be two separate heating systems and therefore the applicant will only be eligible to receive payments for one of the products. You will need to choose which product to apply for. Additionally, you will be required to meter your heating system to be eligible for payment so that we know how much heat comes from each.

Two or more of the same technology type, but different eligible products. Commissioned at different times

One product only.

If you have two different products commissioned at different times, they will be considered to be different heating systems. You will only be eligible to receive payments on one of the products, so will need to choose which product you wish to apply for. Additionally, you will be required to meter your heating system to be eligible for payment.

Two or more different technology types.

One product (unless one is solar thermal, then both products may be eligible)

If you install more than one technology type that is used for space heating then only one will be eligible and you will need to install meters.

A note on solar thermal systems: applicants who install a space heating system alongside a solar thermal system that only provides domestic hot water will not be required to install metering. Applicants can receive payments for both solar thermal and a space heating technology installed at the same property. Each product will require a separate application and will be paid separately.

You can have solar thermal installed to supplement space heating but you will only be able to apply for the primary space heating system under the Domestic RHI, the solar thermal component will be ineligible.

 

Product eligibility list

Among other requirements, your heating system must be a certain make, model and technology type to be eligible. We’ve listed these in a useful spreadsheet to reference before you purchase your product. More.

Commissioning

Your first commissioning date will determine when you can apply, your tariff rate and whether you are a ‘legacy’ or standard applicant. You can find the date on your Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certificate. More.