Why installers need MCS certification and how to get it

Having MCS certification (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) is more important than ever before – and simpler for renewable installation companies to achieve. In his third monthly column for Renewable Energy Installer, GTEC’s Griff Thomas explains why and how…

MCS certification has been something of a sticking point for renewable installation companies over the years. The long process can be daunting with applicants weighed down by what seems like endless forms and requirements.  Some invested time and money into getting certified, only for government schemes to be pulled prematurely.   

However, the Heat and Buildings strategy published last week sets out plans to expand heat pump adoption over the next decade making it a more cost-effective choice for consumers and cementing the role of heat pumps in the future heating mix.  Installers who want full access to this growing marketplace will need to be MCS certified.  But don’t worry – help is out there! 

Why do I need MCS certification? 

MCS certification is not a legal requirement for low-carbon installers, like Gas Safe registration is for gas engineers, however, it is an eligibility requirement for financial incentives schemes, such as the new Boiler Replacement Scheme and the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).   

It is likely that most small-scale renewable installations, certainly for the next few years, will be eligible for some sort of funding therefore to gain full market access MCS is a must.   

MCS is a mark of excellence that demonstrates adherence to the latest industry standards, quality products and a high standard of installation work.  Customers may need to produce an MCS certificate to insurance companies, mortgage lenders and planning authorities.  From a consumer’s perspective, using an uncertified installer is more trouble than its worth.     

Isn’t the process too difficult and expensive? 

MCS certification is a sign of excellence so there is a fair amount of work involved, but MCS is working hard to break down barriers for first-time applicants. 

Make MCS easy 

We’ve done our own research to ascertain what the barriers are and we found that even if applicants are technically competent, many do not understand what is required for their business to achieve certification.  

That’s why we launched MCS Made Easy, an online tool designed to guide installers through the MCS process without tying themselves in knots.  The fully integrated support package has been developed by people who helped write MCS standards and includes a webinar and supporting documentation, tutorials, Q&As and real-life scenarios – helpful for both first-time applicants and MCS certified companies looking for help with their annual surveillance.   

Take a step in the right direction  

With the process broken down into manageable chunks and expert support at every stage, the prospect of achieving MCS certification is much more manageable than it has been in the past.   

While gas boilers will not be banned overnight, they will be phased out as the cost of heat pumps and other low-carbon alternatives comes down, and consumers are incentivised by schemes such as the Heat & Buildings Strategy – installation companies that embrace MCS will be best placed to meet growing demand.  

Griff Thomas is passionate about renewables and has advised governments, certification bodies and industry committees on the development of large-scale renewable training programmes, training standards and best practice. More information can be found at https://gtec.co.uk/ and http://mcsmadeeasy.co.uk/