Room for improvement, even with awareness of renewables at 90%

decclogoA recent report has been released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which has found that 90% of the non-domestic organisations which were surveyed were aware of renewable heat technologies.

The survey, conducted by three companies independent to DECC, found that the majority of RHI applicants were found to be satisfied with their renewable heat technologies, with 90% reporting that they are either “very” or “fairly” satisfied.  Applicants were also mostly satisfied with the installation process, with just under two thirds finding it “very” or “fairly” easy. The technologies with the highest take-up (biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps and solar thermal) were the most well known.

The report stated that the financial incentive offered by the RHI mattered and there was evidence that a large proportion of installations would not have happened without the RHI. Citing financial returns as one of the main reasons, the scheme’s involvement was found to be a success. The environment and using renewable energy sources was also important to a majority of organisations in their choice of technology, particularly for large and public sector organisations.

Although the satisfaction and awareness of renewable heat technologies were found to be high, the report highlighted a lack of awareness of the RHI and its aim to promote wider awareness of renewable heat technologies. The wider non-domestic population were reported at 79% unaware of the scheme prior to being surveyed.

The main barriers to investment for organisations are reported as a lack of confidence in the reliability of renewable heat technologies, the length of payback and uncertainty over the level of payback. Fifty two per cent were unsure whether renewable heat technologies would fulfill their heating requirements better than their current system and 58% were unsure whether Renewable heat technologies were more reliable than conventional heating systems.

The report highlighted that applicants to the scheme wanted to see “more streamlining, clarity and consistency in the application process”. A third of those surveyed reported that the process took the equivalent of four full-time days or less, while 22% stated the application process took more than 15 days.

Fifty four per cent reported problems with completing applications due to a lack of clarity of information they were required to provide and overly complex guidance from Ofgem.

The report concluded that the RHI has played its part in the non-domestic RHI by stimulating investments in renewable heat technology. Experiences with the installation and operation of renewable heat technology were found to be positive. The report concluded that, although renewable heat technology is being installed in a wide range of sectors, the relatively low prevalence of non-biomass renewable heat technology, larger systems, and the lack of non-self-financed installations shows that areas of the supply chain still have room to develop.


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