As with any type of fuel, most people want to know the costs involved. With biomass and wood pellets the costs can be split into two distinct areas; the cost of the equipment and the cost of the fuel itself.
Biomass fuel costs
Like most other fuels, the cost of biomass is increasing annually. However, the expansion of domestic production of wood pellets and the rising number of suppliers means that competition looks set to keep prices relatively stable.
This is made even more apparent when the cost of wood pellets is compared to the cost of heating oil. Traditionally there has been no seasonal spike in the cost of wood pellets when cold weather arrives, but the cost of heating oil is often criticised for doubling in price as soon as the temperature drops.
Wood pellet boiler costs
The cost of a wood pellet boiler depends on the supplier and their current prices. However, the average cost of a standalone pellet stove is around £4,300 (which includes installation). An automatically-fed pellet boiler for the average home costs around £11,500, while manually fed systems are slightly cheaper.
Renewable Heat Incentive
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides a financial incentive for those users switching to wood pellets. Under the commercial scheme, wood pellet boiler users receive regular payments over a 20 year period for the amount of energy they produce via renewable means. Domestic users receive quarterly RHI payments for seven years. This means that wood pellet users could recoup the installation costs within 3-6 years and enjoy a regular income for the remainder of the agreed period.