Patrick Allcorn, the Head of Scheme Design of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has called for support from the UK solar thermal industry.

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Speaking at Solar Power UK 2012, which kicked off today and runs until October 4, Allcorn said that the RHI wants to “create the right consultation” but this would require support from the industry in order to ensure sustainable solar thermal growth and balanced distribution of the piece.

The domestic RHI aims to deliver domestic renewable heat to help the Renewable Energy Directive to meet its renewable energy target by 2020. Currently, the RHI tariff is set to offer 17.3p per kWh for solar thermal installations which lasts for 20 years.

However, the RHI is opting to change this to a 7-year tariff which means that the consumer still receives the same amount of money as the 20-year tariff but would receive larger amounts over a 7-year period. Allcorn suggests that this move may encourage more tenants to install solar thermal technologies even if they plan on a short tenure in their building.

This move is also supported by Stuart Elmes, the Chair of Solar Thermal Committee at the Solar Trade Association. Also speaking at a seminar at SPUK, Elmes said that the concept would be easier to sell and will help it to compete against the feed-in tariff.

Alternative incentive schemes were also put forward including a Capital Grant scheme which would see a large upfront payment given to customers or a hybrid scheme.

The consultation period for the RHI will last until March when it brings the scheme to Parliament. Until then, Smartt Group consultants will be collating data and requesting further evidence in order to “understand the intricacies of the market”. They will examine the impact of new build regulations and explore ideas surrounding social landlord tariffs, among others. But one of the most important areas highlighted however is evidence on cost.

Commenting on the RHI in general, Elmes opined that the RHI consultation is good news for the industry and with a few tweaks it would be great news”.

The consultation closes on December 7 and is scheduled to begin in August 2013.

This article can be viewed on Solar Power UK’s site: http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/spuk_rhi_calls_for_support_to_ensure_sustainable_solar_thermal_growth

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