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VIESSMANN Welcomes The Government’s “Careful” Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Proposals

Leading international manufacturer of domestic and commercial heating systems welcomes incentive levels which match the industry’s ability to develop, but questions “counterproductive” air source heat pump uncertainty.

Viessmann Ltd, part of the Viessmann Group of Companies and one of the leading international manufacturers of heating systems, welcomes UK Government’s RHI proposal announcement (10/3/11). Viessmann’s industry perspective is unique in that its product range encompasses all fuel types and applications; from traditional oil and gas-fired boilers to renewable solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, combined heat and power modules (CHP), ground, air and water sourced heat pumps and biomass boilers. The company has been manufacturing renewable heating systems for almost 40 years and sells 500,000 m2 of solar collectors globally per year.

In relation to the impact on the domestic heating market, Peter Frost, managing director of Viessmann Ltd, comments:

“The Government seems to have chosen a more careful and selected route to introduce renewable technology into the domestic market. To us, this makes sense as the renewables market is still very young and is challenged by the need for accurate product and application information, and the required installer training. The potential for efficiency loss is much greater in a renewable heating system installation than a traditional one. The technologies need to be correctly specified by individual application to realistic parameters and there is still a lot of learning to do by those adopting and installing them.

“We are surprised to hear that the RHI starts later than expected in October 2012, but bringing this in line with the Green Deal scheme makes sense. Also, introducing a premium payment from July should help to quell industry disappointment.

“It is still not clear what tariffs, by technology type, will be introduced in 2012. Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) appear to have been singled out and will be the biggest loser. The decision to provide a one-off cash payment of £850 for an ASHP today, without any tariff information for next year, could be counterproductive.

“ASHPs are as good as any other renewable technology when used correctly and we worry that this uncertainty may lead customers to move away from this technology.

“Viessmann believes that the most effective step for most UK homeowners now is the installation of a weather-compensated gas condensing boiler combined with a solar thermal system. This can provide reductions of up to 35 percent in fuel bills if the system is used for domestic hot water and central heating. The condensing boiler is the best technology available to suit the UK’s present needs and capacity as we adapt to using more renewable energy sources, yet around 20 million homes are without it.”

In relation to the impact on the commercial heating market, Peter Frost, managing director of Viessmann Ltd, continues:

“It is great news for the commercial sector that the RHI is starting in July 2011, even though the feed-in tariff is less than originally proposed. We support the tariff split for biomass boilers which means that about two thirds of the total demand will enjoy a higher tariff. As commercial applications are all metered, biomass energy production can now be monitored so that it is used appropriately and not wasted.

“Again, we are surprised that ASHPs are not going to be considered until October 2012. The RHI’s co-efficient of performance (COP) target level for ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) is set to greater than 2.9. This contradicts the Microgeneration Certification Scheme’s (MCS) requirement of 3.5 for heat pumps less than 45kW and the minimum level of 4.0 for the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme (an initiative to encourage businesses to invest in low carbon energy saving equipment). We wonder why the RHI document quotes a lower figure.

“In conclusion, the new RHI is a start and it is up to the industry to make it work to its best so we can achieve our carbon reduction goal by 2020. Viessmann is committed to playing a leading role in the development of renewable technology internationally, and in providing support to end-users and installers as market understanding and the adoption of this technology grows.”

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