Lifes Energy | FAQs
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What is a Renewable Heat Incentive - RHI?

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies among householders, communities and businesses through the provision of financial incentives. You can claim for:

Biomass boilers

Solar water heating

Certain heat pumps

Domestic payments are made for 7 years and are based on the amount of renewable heat made by your heating system.

How much are RHI payments?

The Domestic RHI tariff rates are as follows for the period 01/07/16 – 30/09/16:


Biomass boilers and biomass stoves – 4.68p per kilowatt hour


Air source heat pumps – 7.51p per kilowatt hour


Solar thermal – 19.74p per kilowatt hour

What if I have commercial premises or own a business?

Please visit our commercial website where the information is more relevant to your situation.

What is a Feed-in tariff?

A feed-in tariff is a measurement of every unity of electricity you generate with your solar panels.  You get paid an amount for every unit of electricity you generate, whether you use it or not, for the first 20 years of your solar panel installation.

What is the current feed-in rate?

4.25p per kilowatt hour (KwH) is the current feed-in rate. (to 30/09/15)

You get paid this amount for every unit of electricity you generate, whether you use it or not, for the first 20 years of your solar panel installation.

What is an export tariff?

An export tariff is an amount of money paid when electricity is generated by your solar panels that is not used within your house; is instead exported to the grid for others to use.  The Government pays you for generating that supply, for the first 20 years of your installation.

What is the current Export tariff rate?

4.91p per kilowatt hour (KWh) is the current export tariff for electricity you generate and export to the grid.

What return on investment can I expect from solar panels?

A typical 4kw system:

saves you £250 per year in electricity

gives you £500 income from feed-in tariffs

£80 from export tariffs

Meaning a net gain of £830 per year, over 20 years.  With an installation cost of £6,000 that’s a ROI of 17%

For a more detailed calculation, specific to your location, please call our offices on 01723 371374 or email

What return on investment can I expect from a biomass boiler in my home?

Based on a 3 bedroom house, switching from oil burning boiler to biomass boiler for heating and hot water – 26kw system, costing £14,000.

If your oil costs per year were: £1,000

Your pellet costs would be: £770

So your savings would be: £230 per year

Your RHI payment would be: £2,000 per year

Your income over 7 years would be £17,500

Your return on investment would be 12.5%

How do I know my property is suitable for a biomass boiler?

You will need:


Space for the boiler – slightly larger than a standard washing machine


Space for the fuel – around 7m2 of dry storage area for the solid biomass fuel, typically wood pellets


Ideally the two would be within 10 metres of each other – that’s all it takes!


Some people prefer to site their boiler in an outhouse or boiler room; or perhaps add a fuel silo on the side of their house. These additions will be subject to the usual planning permissions. As long as your house is unlisted, you won’t need planning permission for the boiler itself, unless you chose to build a boiler house or fuel silo, need to raise the height of your chimney above 1m or live in a Conservation Area or World Heritage Site and the flue would be visible from the road.

However, all  installations require a building warrant – we will guide you through both the planning permission and building warrants, if you need us to.

You can install a biomass boiler in a smokeless zone, but wood can only be burned in certain exempt appliances.

How do I know my property is suitable for solar panels?

The three key points to consider when regarding suitability of your property:


Which way does your home face?

Ideally, any panels on your roof should face in a southern direction to receive the maximum amount of sunlight. The direction that your house faces can affect the amount of sunlight which it sees, although the panels are still very efficient when facing east or west.


What is the angle of your roof?

Your roof pitch or angle can make a difference to the amount of sunlight it will recieve throughout the day, affecting the amount of energy that can be generated. We cater to most roof types, but we would recommend a visit from one of our experienced energy advisors who will discuss your needs with you in detail.


How shaded is your roof?

If there is any shading on your roof area from chimneys, trees or surrounding properties, this will have a negative effect on the amount of energy your roof panels will be able to produce. Panels can also be placed in gardens or fields to achieve the maximum amount of sunlight input. Our energy advisor will work with you when planning the installation to avoid shading wherever possible.

You do not usually require planning permission in the UK to fit solar panels unless your property is Listed; situated in a Conservation Area; a designated heritage site or area of outstanding natural beauty.

If you are unsure of the status of planning in your area please call us to discuss.

How do I calculate carbon savings?

Use Life’s Energy’s carbon calculator to see exactly how many tonnes of CO2 you are saving by making the switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Click here to access the tool at the foot of the page.

How do I calculate fuel savings?

Use our handy calculator to work out what you could save by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Simply enter the figures as requested and you will get an approximation of the amount you could save. Click here to be transferred to the calculator tool.

Fuel costs (Feb 15) vary with supplier and bulk discounts, but on average expect to pay:

3.1p/kWh for wood-chip

4.77p/kWh for pellets

4.29p/kWh for natural gas

5.36p/kWh for oil

8.32p/kWh for LPG

14.04p/kWh for electricity

Where can I get a price?

You can get a quote by completing our online form, telephoning us on 01723 371374 or emailing us at  We may need to perform a site survey to assess the suitability of your property for a renewable energy installation.

Where can I see real life examples of calculations?

You can read case studies from our customers on our website.  If you would like to arrange a personal visit to a particular installation simply give us a call on 01723 371374 and we will arrange one for you with the homeowner.

What if I want to move house?

Solar panels, Biomass boilers and solar thermal systems are installed into your house.  Unfortunately you cannot dismantle the equipment and take it with you. However, you will find that they increase the value of your house.  Your purchaser will continue your contract your energy provider receiving your feed-in tariff payments and will also benefit from any free electricity generated by your solar panels.

Can I see a renewable energy installation up close?

Watch this short video to learn what is involved maintaining a biomass boiler:

For any more queries or to contact a Life’s Energy Adviser click here