Free Renewable Energy – What’s the Catch?

Don?t lose your RHI or FiT payouts by opting for free wind turbines, solar panels and biomass boilers if you can afford to pay upfront.

Under the Government?s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Feed in Tariff (FiT) schemes, property-owners (whether home or business) can earn high financial rewards for switching to renewable energy sources. It makes sense to switch to renewable energy as you can save a lot of money every year in your fuel bills, as well as the RHI and FiT payouts.

What is the RHI and what does it cover?

The Government has to meet EU targets to reduce UK carbon emissions by 2020, so they?ve introduced the Non Domestic RHI in November 2011, and the Domestic RHI scheduled to launch in summer 2013, rewarding property-owners for using renewable energy to heat their buildings and hot water ? such as switching to carbon-neutral biomass boilers, or heat pumps.

The RHI covers the following heating and hot water renewable technologies:

  • Biomass Boilers
  • Heat Pumps
  • Solar Thermal

What is the FiT and what does it cover?

The Feed in Tariff operates in a similar way to the RHI but rewards electricity generating renewables.

The FiT covers the following electricity generating renewable technologies:

  • Solar PV
  • Wind Turbines

How much money can I make from the RHI and the FiT?

Here?s an example of the sort of returns you can expect for your commercial property:

Solar PV Biomass Boiler Wind Turbine
Example installation 100kWp Solar PV array on a South facing office block with a large electrical usage 199kW biomass boiler replacing oil-fuelled boiler in a rural non-domestic property Installation of a 6kW turbine on a 15m mast at a rural property with an average wind speed of 5.5m m/s.
Renewable energy produced 98,400kWh 91,980kWh 13,500kWh
You pay £95,000 £95,000 £30,000
Total annual return* £18,500 £31,700 £3,850
Total return over 20 years £370,000 £634,000 £77,000
  Read more about Solar PV Read more about biomass boilers Read more about wind turbines

The Domestic RHI scheme is being launched later this year. The current cash-back scheme for domestic renewable energy is the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), which covers Solar PV and Wind Turbines:

Solar PV Biomass Boiler  Heat Pumps
Example installation A standard 4kWp 16 panel system on a 3/4 bedroom house

Watch this space! Sign up for our newsletter below to receive updates from us on the Domestic RHI scheme, or follow us on Twitter @energymyway.


Electricity produced 3,936
You pay £7000
Total annual return* £850
Total return over 20 years £17,000
Read more about Solar PV

* this is a conservative combination of subsidy rewards and bill savings and would then be index linked annually

What are the options for funding my installation?

There are three ways to fund your renewable energy installations:

  • Pay for them yourself. This is by far the best option if you can afford to as you will receive all the pay-outs from the Renewable Heat Incentive of Feed-in Tariff.
  • Lease your solar panels, biomass boiler or wind turbine using Energy Efficiency Financing, you may be able to use your subsidy rewards to cover the lease payments.
  • Opt for a free installation where you will benefit from the bill savings BUT you sacrifice the lucrative RHI and FiT payments. There may also be a get-out early charge.

I?ve been offered free solar panels. Why isn?t this a good idea?

As you can see, the earnings from the Feed-in Tariff are potentially very high indeed, and customers can typically see up to 12% return on their initial investment in renewable energy. But the upfront investment is a large one, and many people will not be able to afford it. It?s ok to accept a free installation of solar panels or biomass boilers ? you will still save money on you bills. But remember that the installing company will claim your FiT payouts in lieu of the free installation.

I am a commercial customer who can?t afford the upfront cost – tell me more about leasing

If you can?t afford to pay for your new greener energy installations upfront ? rather than lose your RHI or FiT payouts, we recommend you lease your solar PV, biomass boiler or wind turbine using Energy Efficiency Financing. You can start claiming your RHI and FiT payouts as soon as your renewable energy installation is commissioned! You then use part or all of your earnings for your repayments for around 7 years, typically. In the meantime you keep all your bill savings (which can be substantial), and all the subsidy payouts after the lease is paid off.

We?re now offering financing options for all renewable energy installations. Take a look at our article on Biomass Boilers for a breakdown of lease repayments on a commercial biomass boiler, or ask us about financing for other products.

Arrange a FREE suitability consultation

surveystarburstYour local EnergyMyWay director can visit your home or business to give you full details of the RHI and FiT schemes and to provide advice on your property?s suitability for the switch to renewable energy. Switch now, and start earning.

By: Louisa Stockley