RHI update

We were very shocked this morning, when we looked at the date of our last blog – May 2016 arrrggghhh!!

We have been so busy that we have not had time to think, more later on what we have been up to but, more importantly for now, up to date news on the Domestic RHI.

Ofgem published a factsheet in December 2016 entitled “Important Changes to the RHI”. The factsheet floated the potential idea of an uplift in the tariff and also a cap in the kWh to come in to force in Spring of this year. The current tariff is 4.21p per kWh – this is the figure that you would receive if you installed a domestic biomass plant today. What the government are proposing is an uplift to 6.44p per kWh in Spring but also a cap at 25,000 kWh.

We have just come off the phone with Ofgem and, what is interesting, is that the uplift will be automatic, so, if you were to instal today (for example) you would automatically receive the uplifted amount if it comes into force in Spring BUT you would not receive the cap, unless you had installed after the date when any potential cap was announced.

It would seem to us that now would be a good time to instal a biomass system, if you are thinking of it, because there is a short time frame in which you can potentially reap the benefits of a sizeable uplift in tariff, without having to bear the burden of any potential caps its a – win/win scenario but hurry, it won’t be around for long!

Recent project in Abergavenny

We’ve just completed an installation for some lovely clients in Abergavenny, who are extremely happy with their brand new and shiny Windhager Biowin 2. They are set to receive just over £23,000 from the domestic RHI, over a 7 year period and emailed me today to say “…we thought you might want this photo. Aaron really has done a super job with everything!”

Windhager Biowin 2 installed in beautiful Abergavenny

RHI tariff regression mechanism

March has been a super busy bumper month, seeing us all run around like ‘mad hatters’! The reason for this is that DECC (the Department of Energy and Climate Change) announced, on 27th February 2015, that the degression super trigger for domestic biomass had been passed. This means that the current domestic biomass tariff of 10.98p per kilowatt hour will be reduced, by 20%, to 8.93p per kilowatt hour for all new applications made under the domestic RHI from 1st April 2015. Consequently and understandably, our clients were eager to instal before the 1st April, making March a very busy and hectic month indeed. Tariff rates are subject to review quarterly, so another review is expected to take place in June. We urge you please, if you are considering biomass, not to delay, because time really is of the essence in securing the best possible tariff rate for your RHI term. Here’s what all the jargon means:

David Stirling and his Windhager Biowin 2

The RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) is a limited budget pot, which the Government reduces as more and more biomass boilers are installed, via a financial control mechanism called degression. This reduces the tariff, meaning that it really is a case of the early adopters reaping the greatest financial benefits.

What are tariffs?

These are the set rate for your RHI payments. The good news is that once your application is complete and agreed, your tariff rate is fixed for the entirety of your term. People who join the scheme and abide by its rules receive quarterly payments over 7 years (under the domestic RHI) and 20 years (under the commercial RHI) for using clean, green renewable heat.

Scheme budget management (degression)

The original RHI tariff rates were set by DECC. In order to keep the RHI within budget, DECC carefully monitor its uptake. If the uptake of the scheme is higher than the approved budget, they lower the tariff rates and this control mechanism is called degression. Tariff rates are subject to review quarterly but the rate will only reduce if the total amount of RHI payments made is higher than the degression trigger or (as in the case recently, with this year’s first quarter’s domestic RHI, which caused our extremely manic March) super trigger. Legacy applications (for installations commissioned before the scheme launched) are not affected by degression and the tariff rate at the time of submission will apply for the full term, meaning that any further reviews and degressions will not affect it.

The commercial RHI and the domestic RHI are separate “budget pots” but both are subject to tariff reviews once a quarter.

If you have any queries, on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us – we are always happy to talk biomass!

Exciting instal with record-breaking domestic RHI return

The domestic RHI can be very lucrative – ask us about a FREE site visit to assess the suitability of biomass for your home

We are very excited about one of our current projects, up in Malvern in Worcestershire. 2 x 35kw Biowin Excels running in cascade, with full weather conmpensation Windhager Specialist MES controls (which alone will save the client 13% per annum on fuel), a 7 tonne pellet store and 6 metres of pipework from the boiler room to the house. The most exciting thing about this project is not the beautiful rolling Malvern hills, not the two shiny Biowin Excels (the workhorses of the Windhager family) but the whopping £110,000 that our clients will receive from the Government, under the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), over a 7 year period. We were blown away by this figure and it tops the charts as being one of the highest that we have personally seen, under the Domestic RHI,  to date!



Biomass Wood Gasification Boilers

We have installed several biomass wood gasification boilers recently; always an exciting project for our installers as they (that’s the boilers) feel very “manly” and “neanderthal”  - apparently! Always exciting projects for us as a business because, when fitted correctly and in the right context, they represent great value for money and probably the most cost effective form of fuel . For clients who work in the timber industry or who can lay their hands on a plentiful supply of suitable wood, they are a no-brainer and, of course, under the RHI scheme, the Government pays you to use them – joy!

Biomass Wood Gasification boiler

Windhager Biomass Wood Gasification boilers – the science is simple; the effects are extraordinary

Biomass Wood Gasification Boiler installed recently for a client in Chippenham

Our Credentials

We were asked recently about our credentials and, because we are not ones to brag, it felt uncomfortable. However, having thought about the question carefully, we could understand why it was asked – the client in question was going to be parting with his hard-earned cash and he wanted to make sure that we knew what we were doing and, that we were going to be around a while – after all, what use is a 2 year MCS Guarantee, if the company goes bust 6 months after the instal? So, with this thought in mind, please excuse us for some uncharacteristic boastfulness:-

  • We are one of the most experienced domestic biomass installers in Wiltshire (incidentally and to give this statement some context, the South West, as a region, is home to more than two thirds of all biomass installers nationally).
  • Wessex Biomass runs two teams – one for domestic and small to medium commercial installations and another for large commercial instals.
  • We were proud to be a part of the Government “Think Tank” (by invitation) during the consultation process on the domestic RHI.
  • Here at Wessex we specialise in biomass, are un-apologetically passionate about it and, have been so ever-since our first instal back in 2009.
  • Our clients are our greatest advocates, many of whom we have enjoyed long and enduring relationships with from our early installation days. Don’t take our word for any of the above – ask them. Simply contact us and we will make arrangements for you. You can talk candidly to them about us, their boilers, fuel or indeed any other aspect of biomass heating that you wish.

Merry Christmas!

As the “silly season” approaches and it’s time to reflect on the year that was 2014, it occurs to us that it was an extremely busy year, both here at Wessex and across the industry as a whole. The Wessex Team are looking forward to a well earned rest, a few mince pies and maybe even a glass of sherry or two! We will be closing for our seasonal break on 23rd December at 1:00pm and opening for business again on 5th January 2015 at 9:00am.

We would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year and look forward to doing business with you in 2015!

The Wessex Biomass Team :) xx


Feeding your biomass boiler – hand-fed or hopper-fed?

When considering the feasibility of biomass, whether to opt for a manual, hand-fed, wood pellet biomass boiler or one fed via an external hopper, is usually pretty high up on our clients’ decision making lists. Some clients have clear ideas about what they’d like and others are not so sure.

Here at Wessex Biomass, we are happy to accommodate whatever you have in mind and budget; we recently designed a bespoke hopper solution for a client, in the eaves of his garage, utilising otherwise lost and unused space.

Bag fed units have an internal hopper which generally holds about 2.5 bags (roughly a day’s worth of pellets during cold winter months). We have one of these at home and I put in 2 bags a day during winter months and one bag every other day during the summer, when the boiler is only used for heating water.

Of our clients who opted for an external hopper-fed biomass boiler, some have hoppers which hold a few month’s worth of wood pellets and others hold several tonnes worth, only needing to be filled a couple of times per year. The choice is yours and will depend upon your budget, the level of interaction you desire with your boiler (if you are used to a wood-burner then filling a biomass boiler once a day, with a small bag of pellets is no trouble) and the amount of space that you have available. Give us a call to discuss – we are always happy to talk biomass!

Lets talk flues

We have been asked a lot about flues this week.

A biomass appliance needs a flue, much like a wood burning stove does. The flue comes off the back of the appliance, so realistically where it can go relies a lot on where the biomass appliance is going to be situated.

Flue options, lots of choices

Flue examples

Building Regulations dictate that flues must be 4.5 metres but the situation of the flue is one of the many things we discuss with clients, when looking at feasibility. A flue can go into an existing chimney, be hidden by a roof line, powder coated to any colour you desire or left as it comes; stainless steel and shiny, the choice is yours.