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RHI Plant Replacement

In October 2018 new legislation was passed by the UK government concerning RHI rules. Now broken or underperforming boilers, Solar Thermal arrays and heat pumps can be replaced without affecting the RHI tariff you receive. In this post we address some of the frequently asked questions regarding Biomass Boiler Replacement.

Plant Replacement Overview

Before these rules were introduced, a broken system would be worthless – your investment would never see a return and if you did replace your boiler you would receive the current tariff payments, which for some offer significantly reduced quarterly payments. This left some biomass boiler owners scrambling to keep their poorly designed systems running, spending thousands each year to keep their boilers limping through the quarterly payments.

As of October 2018 your underperforming, over or undersized or broken renewable energy plants can be replaced without huge losses or a reduction in your tariff payments. 

When an original installation breaks down. Participants will be allowed to replace their plant with a new ‘like-for-like’ replacement – ‘like-for-like’ refers to the technology type and capacity. Replacement plants will be able to maintain their original RHI tariff for the remainder of their participation on the scheme


Q. When can I replace my boiler?

A. Ofgem lists the following:

  • Poorly designed system which causes downtime and inefficiencies in your heating system
  • Boiler itself has broken down, worn out or has been destroyed
  • Your boiler was oversized and is working inefficiently
  • Your boiler was undersized and not meeting demand
  • You require a change of fuel (this must be like-for-like, for example wood chip for wood pellets)
  • Moving premises – Ofgem allow you to take your boiler with you.

Q. Do I have to install a like-for-like boiler?

A. Ofgem do not require you to install the same make and model of boiler when replacing your biomass boiler – nor the same type of timber fuel. You are only required to install an identical technology – biomass boiler for biomass boiler, heat pump for heat etc.

Q. Can I still dry woodfuel with the heat generated by the system?

A. When a biomass boiler is replaced, ofgem require you to submit an application as if it were a new system – as with all new systems, it must comply with Ofgem’s eligibility requirements at the time of application.

Drying woodfuel is no longer an eligible heat use under Ofgem regulations.

Q. My biomass boiler is undersized, can I upgrade to a boiler with a large capacity?

A. A variation in capacity is permitted. Whilst your original tariff stands, your payments will be restricted to match your original capacity.
You can find out more about changing boiler capacity here, on our sister company’s RHI Plant Replacement Page.

You can find out more about RHI Plant Replacement rules here, on the Shaw Renewables Biomass Boiler Replacement page.