Figures show that RHI applications have been high since April. Is your merchant business ready to supply products to installers of renewable heat technologies?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has recently published a report containing the first statistics on take up of the renewable heat incentive (RHI). The scheme, which only began in early April 2014, offers both commercial and domestic property owners the opportunity to earn money for installing renewable heat systems in their properties. The scheme is an equivalent to the well know feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme but the RHI, the first ever long term financial incentive scheme for renewable heat, is designed to incentivise the installation of different technologies. The report includes figures for domestic take up only.

The figures, which span from the scheme’s initiation to July 2014, demonstrate that a total of 7,418 households have applied to receive financial support from the government. This is an impressive level of uptake given the short time period. Most interesting, however, is the range of technologies that people are looking to install. Whereas, for the non-domestic RHI which has been in operation since November 2011, the overwhelming majority (93%) of applications were for biomass boilers, there is a broad range of technologies being installed within the domestic sector. Air source heat pumps account for 37% of applications, thermal solar energy is 25% of demand, biomass boilers are 22% and ground source heat pumps are 16%.

What does this mean for merchants? The areas of greatest demand for the RHI are Scotland and the south-west of England - areas where there is a greater proportion of off-grid properties. The next regions in order of demand were the west midlands and the south-east. In such areas, merchants would do well to prepare for elevated demand in products that are relevant to the above listed technologies. Extra training could even be considered so that staff are informed in these areas of renewable technology. To keep ahead of spikes in demand and to keep stocks well maintained and in a large enough quantity, merchants should also consider investing in electronic point of sale (ePOS) software such as that designed by Integrity. To find out more about our software and how it could help you to out compete your rivals, visit our website.