‘Cumbersome’ Microgeneration Certification Scheme slammed

A GREEN energy installer on Teesside says a scheme to protect householders against cowboys is essential, despite claims that regulation is a barrier to uptake.

A GREEN energy installer on Teesside says a scheme to protect householders against the industry’s cowboys is essential, despite claims it is a barrier to uptake.

Home heating installers are expecting a flood of new orders when the Government’s feed-in tariff comes into force next month, giving thousands of householders on Teesside the chance to be paid for generating their own electricity.

The Government-run Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) aims to be as widely recognised as the Gas Safety Trust register, formerly CORGI. Grants are available only via MCS certified installers.

But head of sustainable development at home energy market leader Worcester Bosch, Neil Schofield, says the scheme’s red tape is stopping small firms becoming accredited and there won’t be enough installers to cope with demand.

He says the stringent scheme verges on protectionism and was designed for cottage industry, not the mass market micro-renewables promises to be.

He told the Evening Gazette: "We’ve no problem with the idea of MCS, it’s the right thing to do, but the reality is it’s incredibly cumbersome. It’s so expensive and complicated for mainstream installers that it’s not helping them come on board - it’s doing the opposite. They will turn their backs on green systems and discourage householders from installing them.

"We’re happy to move forward," he said, "we don’t want to scrap the MCS, just tweak it."

Newton Aycliffe installer Revolution Power, which has a growing portfolio on Teesside, was one of the first companies to be MCS accredited.

Managing director Wayne Richardson said MCS is a necessary evil.

"It brings lots of benefits for the consumer. We know about the growing pains of the industry, the hassle of getting somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing. In the early days, we spent a good year putting jobs right for manufacturers. We’ve seen it all.

"One guy had permafrost on his garden because of an incorrectly installed heat pump - the ground was frozen solid.

"MCS is difficult to do, the paperwork has to be right, but it will improve quality and change the industry for the beter the MCS scheme will do the same."

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said MCS aimed to create a sustainable industry and build consumer confidence.

A spokesperson said: "Experience from other countries has demonstrated that a lack of certification can undermine the wider low carbon and renewables industry.

"MCS has been developed by industry and other stakeholders, such as those representing consumer and trade bodies. The standards are drafted by technology specific expert working groups drawn from the industry and reference European and international standards. There are already more than 520 MCS installer companies able to use MCS to distinguish themselves in the marketplace."

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