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Last updated: 19 October 2018

What is the MCS?

What Is the MCS About?

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is a programme recognised on an international level for its quality assurance scheme, which is maintained by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The MCS guarantees microgeneration technology systems that are capable of producing electricity and heat from renewable energy sources like solar panels.

The MCS also serves as an eligibility requirement for the UK’s various financial incentives, referring here to the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive. As the consumer and primary beneficiary of any small-scale renewable technology, installation and maintenance must be done correctly. The sole purpose of the MCS scheme is to cover areas such as the supply, design, installation, working principles, commissioning, and handover of the microgeneration renewable technologies.  

What Are the Requirements for the MCS?

Before you start buying all the components for your renewable system, you must have the most accurate and clear information and sufficient time to comprehend which implications does a technology such as this one accompany. Mostly, you must have a clear idea about the performance your system should have, and which one of them is most likely to deliver for you with your financial boundaries. The MCS is meant to certify both products and installation companies to make sure installation will be done at a high standard.

In order for your application to be taken into consideration, you will need to provide a MCS certificate number which confirms that your heating system has been installed to the proper MCS standards. Applicants who cannot provide a MCS certificate will not be considered qualified for the Domestic RHI. This is due to the fact that, at the moment, MCS represents the only certified body approved by DECC for the Domestic RHI scheme. If you are interested to become a MCS certified installer company, it will need to prove to a certification body such as HETAS that your business and practices meet the prerequisites of the MCS.

For example, after your system has been installed, a MCS inspection will be scheduled so that they can assess your household and premises in order to ensure that procedures, policies and requirements of MCS are met and the work carried out is consistent with your system’s design. After you receive their approval, you will start receiving annual assessments and reviews to confirm that the high standards are being maintained. Just to be perfectly clear, only installations which are executed by MCS approved installers can claim financial support from either the Feed-in Tariff - for electricity - and the Renewable Heat Incentive - heat only. Customers are drawn to seeking approved installers because without the financial incentives they are unlikely to proceed with microgeneration work.

Planning Permission - there are increasing circumstances in which planning permission is waived under "permitted development" rules - some of these are only permitted if an MCS Approved Installer is used.

Building guarantees (such as NHBC) and property insurance are also beginning to reference MCS approval in their guidelines and policies.

Carrying the MCS Approved Installer logo does much more than simply display allegiance to a brand; it demonstrates to your customers that you are competent, trustworthy, reliable, and safe - and they will be assured that their installation complies with the industry standards.

How to Make Sure That the Installation Complies With MCS?

The MCS encompasses 3 key aspects associated with the delivery of a compliant installation:

  • The installation company must have the knowledge and practical competence to supply, design (or evaluate a design), install, commission, and hand over the technology for which they are seeking approval.
  • The installation company must follow good working practices for consumer protection, involving compliance with a Consumer Code of Practice which must meet the guidelines set by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Consumer Code Approval Scheme.
  • The installation company must have an appropriate management system for controlling quoting, purchasing, invoicing, complaints management, quality checking, and record keeping. This can be done by a wide variety of systems, including those in place for other activities. NAPIT can make available on request a template of a simple management system for small businesses in the Building Services sector. This is free of charge, but would need to be adapted to suit a company's specific requirements and brought into use.

What Are MCS Standards?

If you have installed a heating system following the launch date, it is of the utmost importance to meet the MCS standards, and for every system they are as follow:

  • If the system you are installing is a biomass, you need version 4.0 of the document “Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3004 requirements for contractors handling the supply, design, installation, set of work, commissioning and handover of solid biofuel heating systems”. This document has been published on the 16th of December 2013.
  • If what you are installing is a heat pump, you will be obliged to have version 4.0 of the document “Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3005 requirements for contractors undertaking supply, design, installation , set of work, commissioning and handover of microgeneration heat pump systems” released on 16th of December 2013.
  • If the installed system is solar thermal, version 4.0 of the document is the one you want “Microgeneration Installation Standard: MIS 3001 requirements for contractors guaranteeing the supply, design, installation, set of work, commissioning and handover of solar heating microgeneration systems” released on the 16th of December 2013.

After you installation has been finished, you must receive a copy of your Compliance Certificate. It will certify that your heating system meets the MCS standards and possess vital information about it. There will be no need to submit the copy of the Compliance Certificate since your documentation will be available online via MCS.