MCS Certification is a quality and safety scheme that is recognized internationally. Renewable energy technologies such as solar PV and solar thermal panels require certification. In the UK, most people opt for MCS certified solar panels installed by MCS solar installers.
Having an MCS certification provides a warranty for the enhanced safety and high quality of renewable energy products. Solar panels are a huge investment, and choosing the wrong product means a waste of money. The same goes for solar installers who might end up doing the wrong job.
Installers with MCS certification will ensure their quality and excellence of work.
The below guide talks about the importance of MCS certification and how an installer can get MCS certified. It also contains names of the different Certification Bodies that will conduct the assessment for the certification.
- 1 What Is MCS?
- 2 What Does It Mean By Microgeneration Technologies?
- 3 What Are The Products That Require Certification By MCS?
- 4 Why Do Installers Need MCS Certification?
- 5 Why Would Customers Choose MCS Certified Installers?
- 6 What Do You Need To Become an MCS Certified Installer?
- 7 The Certification Bodies for MCS Installers
- 8 Summing Up
What Is MCS?
Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is a microgeneration technologies scheme that offers quality assurance. The MCS Service Company Ltd. operates under the trading name MCS.
Technologies that MCS has accredited are of the highest standards both in terms of efficiency and safety.
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) provides the MCS certification. However, it is independent of the government.
The MCS certification is not just for technologies but for installers as well. Whether you are an installation agency or a professional installer, the MCS certification provides proof of your competence. It signifies their reliability and will provide the customers with peace of mind.
What Does It Mean By Microgeneration Technologies?
Microgeneration technologies are those renewable energy systems that work on a small scale. They are used for generating electricity or heat in a house or an office. These systems are used as an alternative for traditional grids or even used alongside them.
Microgeneration technologies include micro hydro, micro wind, solar panels, micro CHP, biomass boilers, and heat pumps. You will find these technologies installed in houses that do not completely rely on the grid or off-grid.
In current times, people have been understanding the importance of microgeneration technologies and using them to achieve a low carbon footprint. It helps reduce their energy bills and has an overall environment-friendly impact.
What Are The Products That Require Certification By MCS?
The MCS certification covers three microgeneration technologies. They are equipment for heat-generating, electricity generating, or co-generating (both electricity and heat). Some examples of such products are –
- Solar photovoltaic cells
- Small wind turbines
- Heat pumps
- Solar thermal
Why Do Installers Need MCS Certification?
Several PV installers are opting for MCS certification to enter the UK market. Users get several financial incentives in installing products with MCS certification. Hence, more people are looking for products and installers with MCS certification.
The certification offers protection and guarantees warranty, safety, etc., to the end-user.
Why Would Customers Choose MCS Certified Installers?
In the UK, customers are more prone to choosing MCS certified installers than their local uncertified installers. If you are thinking about the benefits of MCS certification for your business growth, then below are some reasons.
Assured Quality Service
MCS certification provides quality assurance, and customers know that the installation will be under the MCS warranty. However, this is only possible if they hire the services of an MCS certified installer. Therefore, if you have an MCS certification, the customer can blindly rely on your service quality.
MCS focuses on providing ample protection to its consumers. Each installer certified by MCS has to follow consumer protection standards. Hence, consumers can take action against the installer if needed. They can register complaints that will be addressed promptly.
That is the reason consumers feel comfortable using MCS certified installers.
If the customer chooses MCS certified installers, they know the products will also be MCS certified. That means they would receive quality products along with quality service. These products will have warranty coverage and will need to adhere to the MCS Standards.
The products that the customers choose will function for a long time. Similarly, the installation job will be good, and the customers will not have to worry about faulty work.
Eligible for Incentive Schemes
Customers are eligible for financial schemes only if they install an MCS certified product by an MCS certified installer. They will choose certified installers for these incentives, such as Renewable Heat Incentive (solar thermal) and Smart Export Guarantee (solar PV).
MCS certified installers have to meet competency standards to get the certification. Therefore, customers know that the individual coming for the product installation are good at their work.
The competency standard requires each individual to showcase their skills and performance in their selected field. Hence, there will be no question of poor quality work or unsafe installations.
What Do You Need To Become an MCS Certified Installer?
The MCS certification is only offered to users who have the below-mentioned elements.
The assessment of MCS installers is done against certain specific standards and the MCS 001 Standard. This will be done for the technology for which the installer has applied to be certified. A certification board will conduct the assessment to see if your renewable technology installation procedure follows the MCS standards.
The assessment will further be based on the company’s policies, along with an inspection of their installation site. The agency themselves can nominate this installation site. Your choice of Certification Body will guide in this process.
Please note that there are multiple Certification Bodies, and each has its prices and timescale for the assessment. It is always better to talk to a few Certification Bodies before making the final choice.
Customer Care Standards
Before you can finish the MCS assessment, you will need a consumer code approved by a Trading Standards Institute (TSI). For this, you can either join the Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme (HIES) or the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).
Being a member of either of these schemes will ensure that you will diligently follow the consumer protection standards of the Consumer Code. It provides importance to the interests of the consumer and offer self-regulation.
The Consumer Code offers principles for exceptional customer services and optimum protection. It is not just an obligation to the consumer law, but higher standards show the importance of consumers for the installer.
Each individual belonging to the company will have to showcase their competence to ensure they follow the scheme’s requirements. This goes for the individuals working in different sectors such as installation, supply, and design.
Each of the workmen associated with the microgeneration system will have to provide proof of their competence.
MCS has detailed competency criteria that focus on the requirements to be fulfilled to certify for the scheme. Following this competency guidance is necessary for a company to ensure they succeed in getting the certification.
Management System Standards
A Quality Management System (QMS) is essential for getting the MCS certification. The certification body will require documented systems and procedures to ensure that your company has followed every Standard requirement.
MCS also offers templates for QMS to help installers document the process in terms of the MCS Standard. It is not mandatory to use the templates, but it can make the work easier for you.
Installers that use another QMS can go forward with their own system. Using the templates does not guarantee certification since the focus will be on how good the system has been maintained and completed.
The Certification Bodies for MCS Installers
Certification Bodies are third-party organizations that carry out the MCS certification assessment. These Certification Bodies are accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). They are allowed to assess the installers and products to see if they match the MCS Standards.
If the Certification Body is not UK-based, they need to be certified by an organization equivalent to UKAS and are part of the Multiparty Lateral Agreement (MLA).
Installers who want to be MCS certified will need to contact one of the below mentioned Certification Bodies for their assessment. These Certification Bodies are –
- APHC Certification Ltd. – Solar Thermal, Biomass, Heat Pumps
- Certsure LLP t/a NICEIC – Micro CHP, Wind Turbines, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Heat Pumps, Solar PV
- Napit Certification Ltd. – Micro CHP, Wind Turbines, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Heat Pumps, Solar PV
- Certsure LLP t/a ELECSA – Micro CHP, Wind Turbines, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Heat Pumps, Solar PV
- Hetas – Solar Thermal, Biomass
- OFTEC – Solar Thermal, Biomass, Heat Pumps
Each of the Certification Bodies has its own official website. You can contact any of these organizations to take your assessment for the MCS certification. If you want, you can contact more than one organization and see which ones suit you the best.
MCS accreditation is one of the highest certifications for microgeneration technologies in the UK. Installers with this certification will have the chance to grow their business and receive more consumers.
The company’s name would be listed in the MCS database so that customers could see them as a choice when searching for certified and reputed installers. Companies need to go through multiple assessment stages to get this certification. These assessments are done by reputable Certification Boards as listed in the guide.
Installers having MCS certification will need to adhere to the guidelines provided by MCS.