Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)


Renewable heat is simply heat from renewable sources. This is where a home or business has decided that instead of using a traditional fossil fuel system (oil, gas or coal) they will use a renewable technology for their heating needs.

Examples of renewable heating include biomass (wood chip or wood pellets), solar thermal panels for hot water, deep geothermal, ground source or air source heat pumps.

What is DfE’s role?

The Department for the Economy (DfE) is responsible for implementing appropriate policy that will support the development of a level of 4 percent renewable heat by 2015 and 10 per cent by 2020.  

NI Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Schemes 

In order to achieve the 10 per cent target, the Department introduced the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in 2012 and the domestic RHI in 2014.  The schemes were very successful, and the 2015 target of 4 per cent has been met and exceeded.

However, the unprecedented success of the schemes led to budgetary pressures, and in February 2016 the then DETI Minister announced the suspension of the scheme in relation to new applications. In February 2016 the Assembly approved legislation which allows the Department to suspend the NI RHI Schemes by issuing a Notice. A Regulatory Impact Assessment and rural proofing on the legislation is published on the Department’s website. The Department subsequently issued a Notice suspending the scheme for applications received after 11.59pm on 29 February 2016.

Non-domestic RHI

The non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides non-domestic properties, such as businesses, schools, churches, with ongoing payments for the use of an eligible renewable heat technology.  The scheme closed to new applications on 29 February 2016. 

The scheme is administered by the energy regulator in Great Britain, Ofgem.

Domestic RHI

The domestic RHI provides domestic properties with payments for the use of an eligible renewable heat technology. The scheme closed to new applications on 29 February 2016.  This scheme is administered by the Department.

Information on the domestic RHI scheme is available on the nidirect website. Queries on the domestic RHI can also be directed to or 0300 200 7874. 

Due to the volume of applications received prior to the suspension of the RHI scheme, there will be a delay in the issuing of acknowledgement receipts to RHI scheme applicants.

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