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Attention all glass house growers:

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Government Scheme opens up opportunities for glass house growers to benefit from conversions to biomass heat.

The use of renewable heating derived from a modern wood-fuelled boiler is an excellent way to add income to your business whilst improving your sustainability credentials.

Many growers are now finding that their customers are looking for produce that has a lower carbon footprint, as the customers themselves wish to demonstrate their commitment to “greener” procurement policies.

At the same time as meeting this greener demand, it is possible for growers to add an increment of income which will re pay their capital investment in a surprisingly short time frame, with continuing payments for the scheme’s 20 year term.  Even with current, possibly temporary lower fuel costs, biomass offers cost savings.  Locally produced, sustainable wood chip is slightly cheaper than gas and up to 35% cheaper than oil.  To large heat users such as Nurseries it is the Government-backed RHI that really scores for those willing to adopt a renewable heating technology.

Since the introduction of the RHI scheme in late 2011 there have been over 7258 accredited non-Domestic installations and at 31st December 2014 these had produced over 1GW of heat energy.  This is the equivalent to heating 100,000 homes or the output from 10 Power Stations.  The biomass boiler supplier and installer industry has proved that these systems work.

Products and expertise are now available that offer the Horticultural industry the confidence to make the switch.  Modern biomass boilers from100 kW up to more than 3 mW, working through a correctly-sized closed buffer tank, offer growers the option of either total replacement of their fossil-fuelled heating system or covering the base load with top up from their existing boiler at peak demand.

Biomass boilers of over 1mW capacity attract an RHI tariff rate of 2p/kWh of heat consumed.

Boilers from 200 kW to 999kW pay 5.1p and a top up tariff of 2.2p/kWh above a peak load Tier break.

Boilers up to 199kW attract tariffs of 6.8p and 1.8p/kWh of heat consumed.

All bands have a scheme duration of 20 years from the date of commissioning.

Depending on the size of the growing area or propagating system and the specific heat requirements of a particular crop, it is possible for growers to replace or supplement fossil-fuelled heat from a suitably sized biomass boiler.  In addition most growers will be aware of the recent introduction of a temporary increase in The Annual Investment Allowance of £500,000 for expenditure on plant and machinery.  The AIA will revert to £25,000 from January 2016.

With the RHI unfunded from April 2016, although hopefully it will be renewed, there is now a small window of opportunity for growers to take advantage of these two incentives while they last.  Clearly each business has different circumstances but now could be the time to talk to your accountant and Bank Manager before the boat has sailed!

Forest Heat Energy Ltd. is a specialist biomass heating and wood fuel supplier based on the West Sussex/Hampshire border, serving the local market.  We offer boilers from two leading Austrian manufacturers, ranging from less than100 kW right up to 13 mW in capacity.

For the smaller grower looking for a heat load of up to 500kW, we use ETA Heizetechnik, whilst for large growers requiring operation 24/7 X 365 days per year to meet the larger heat loads and higher temperatures, Mawera (part of the Viessmann Group) provide the perfect solution.  Both boilers are designed and built to very high engineering standards, both with over 40 years biomass experience.

Applications which include large community district heating, hospitals, hotels, the timber industry, nurseries and garden centres all over Europe are testament to the successful adoption of biomass fuelled heat from these two leading manufacturers.

Forest Heat Energy Ltd. offer customers the complete biomass solution:

  •  Design and installation of complete wood fired systems using our strong technical team
  • A local back up and maintenance service
  • Top quality, sustainable wood chip production and supply service

For more information, please visit our website www.forestheatenergy.co.uk or contact us on 01243 543036 to arrange a meeting where we can take you to view local installations supplied by us and talk to owners who are already happily using sustainable, profitable biomass heat in their businesses.