A new £8million fund for communities to get involved in the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme, £10million’s worth of social housing RHPP winners announced – it’s all going off in the world of biomass boilers, heat pumps et al at present.

First things first: the new stuff. The RHPP community competition invites community-based organisations including co-operatives, voluntary groups, social enterprises and development trusts to apply for funding. It’s expected that the pot will support 50-100 projects.

For a chance of a community premium payment, time is also of a premium. Community groups will need to submit a first stage application to us by 7 September 2012, with those successful announced in December.

The scope of the project, local benefits, partners and experience will be considered as part of the judging process – all factors to be expected, really. What’s more, communities who’ve already seen the benefit of the Leaf scheme may be eligible for support through this too.

This is what our CEO Philip Sellwood had to say about it:

“Working together can make the process of upgrading to renewable heating easier and more affordable for everyone. This scheme will provide a great opportunity for community groups to prove once again that they can have a real impact in reducing carbon emissions and energy costs in their homes, whilst empowering communities to be more sustainable.”

On to the winners of this year’s £10million RHPP social landlord competition. After registered providers for social housing across Great Britain such as local authorities and social housing associations were invited to bid for up to £175,000 of the £10million pot of money, 72 successful projects have now been chosen – who will now need to be complete their installations by 31st March 2013.

A good UK spread, from Highlands Council to North Lincolnshire Homes to Thames Valley Housing Association, proved fruitful in their bids. You can find the 72 listed in full here.

Of course, we’re constantly updating our stats for the main stream of the RHPP scheme, open for private householders. The key question is probably how phase 2 is comparing to the first round.

Well, just under 1,200 phase 2 vouchers have been issued at last count (just over 7,000 were issued throughout phase 1). Solar water heating systems have risen in popularity by net 10 per cent so far in the second phase (33-43 per cent). The biggest drop in terms of technology has seen air-source heat pumps account for 29 per cent in phase two thus far, compared to 35 per cent last time.

The split between England, Scotland and Wales has remained more or less the same, with just under 8 in ten vouchers going to English households. When population is considered, this isn’t much of a shocker.

And all this before the main Renewable Heat Incentive gets started…