MCS to face competition
It has long been agreed within the industry that the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) involves overly complicated red tape, lack of attention to the actual site installations and is more targeted at a company's management systems - and it cannot go without mention that deep pockets are required. This makes the scheme hard for the large companies, difficult for the smaller companies, and almost impossible for the sole trader.
As a result, the cost to the installation company is then passed on to the end user, who then believes that the installation company is taking advantage of the lack of skills and competition.
This illusion will only be made worse as the number of installers who are registered with MCS drops rapidly. Figures from MCS illustrate that in July 2014 there were 3,122 installers - whereas the same again in 2015 shows only 2,642 installers. This is compounded further by government support being reined in, and yet membership to MCS still costs the installer the same.
Responding to industry feedback and needs, the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has provided us with cautiously optimistic light on the horizon in the shape of the Renewable Installer Accreditation (RIA).
This new scheme (which is fully backed by HHIC and BEAMA) will be based on the current Competent Persons Scheme and TrustMark.
EUA has estimated that, based on 30 notifiable jobs per year, 2-year warranties and 10 employees, this new scheme could save the installation company between £1,500 and £2,000 per year - and this figure does not include the time saved in paperwork.
It will be interesting to see how the scheme functions and what is required in 2016, but signs indicate that this will produce a welcome boost to the renewables industry.