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New Delta-ee research shows that the Renewable Heat Incentive has high customer appeal – and reveals what suppliers can do to convert more of this interest into installations

There is no question that in 2014, the newly launched RHI fell short of the high expectations many in the industry had – with uptake of ASHP and Solar Thermal in particular disappointing.

However, with a review on tariffs not imminent, the Delta-ee Microgeneration Insight Service considers it even more important to track homeowner awareness and appeal of the RHI – to better understand how industry can make the incentive work for them.The newly launched Delta-ee MIS tracker takes a snapshot view from 300 homeowners every four months throughout the year and focuses on the RHI, technology awareness and understanding customer priorities. The first wave of results reveal:

1. Nearly half of our sample find the RHI appealing, although marketing efforts have so far fallen short of raising widespread awareness.
The RHI, in its current form, does have potential to woo customers. But while nearly half of our sample find it appealing, awareness is much lower (only ~20% of our sample had already heard of the incentive). A bigger push on marketing will be required to explain the scheme to the wider market – with newspaper adverts / articles and a trusted ‘official’ website the most effective channels from a customer POV.

2. Two thirds of people want to reduce their energy bills – but spending on a new central heating system is not a priority. The majority of homeowners say that reducing their energy bills is either a high or very high priority. Not surprisingly the top reason why people find the RHI appealing is because it can save money on energy bills. However, up-front cost remains a barrier for RHI uptake with less than 5% stating that they are planning a new heating system. With summer approaching, 25% (the majority) of respondents said their next big spend would be on a holiday!

3. Offering ‘products for free’ can boost the appeal of the RHI, but can industry deliver this?
Offering ‘products for free’ is an obvious – and evidently attractive – work-around that avoids high upfront costs that most customers are not willing to bear. One third of our sample would be more inclined to use renewable heating products if it was offered on a ‘product for free’ basis, whereby the product is installed at no cost (and the company supplying / owning the product receives the RHI), whilst the homeowner gets the efficiency benefits and saves money on their bills. A key question remains however as to whether industry can find a way to make such a scheme work for them with more than just biomass boilers.

The full findings from this research are available only to MIS subscribers. For more information about this research or becoming a subscriber please contact [email protected]

 

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Friday, 13 December 2019

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