28th April 2020
MCS Certification: nurturing home-grown energy
Phil Steele, Future Technologies Evangelist
In the days of the Feed-in Tariff (the FIT used to allow people to get paid for electricity they generated themselves and sent to the grid), the government created the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The MCS was originally used to verify a safe, high quality installation of renewable energy generating tech, so that people could apply for FIT repayments to cover the energy they had generated at home.
The Feed-In Tariff was cancelled in 2018. Instead, the government decided the onus should be on suppliers to ensure customers are paid for home generation. They announced that the FIT scheme would be replaced with something called the SEG, which mandates that all major suppliers offer an export tariff. Just ONE DAY after the FIT was cancelled we released the UK’s first smart export tariff - outgoingOctopus - to ensure that our customers could still get paid for any electricity they generated at home.
Now, after two years, other energy companies are starting to follow suit, introducing their own export tariffs. In the meantime, MCS has transformed itself into an independent organisation that guarantees adherence to renewable installation standards for the new SEG.
MCS certification provides a mark of quality, and their approval is strongly recommended for registered installers. They cover the entire UK, with the largest concentrations of MCS certified installers either based in the South East, South West or in Scotland.
That’s why twelve months ago, on the 1st April 2019, we took the lead and decided that all our export applications must continue to require an MCS certificate. If you want to get started on applying for MCS certification, their website is the best place to start!
What is the Feed-In Tariff?
The FIT was a Government scheme that allowed people to get paid for electricity they generated themselves and sent to the grid. It was cancelled in 2018.
What is the Smart Export Guarantee?
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a new scheme that came into force on 1st January 2020 and requires energy suppliers to purchase exported electricity. Fortunately, we’ve been doing that ever since our outgoingOctopus launch.
You can read more about the Smart Export Guarantee on Ofgem's website.
In this guest blog, Ian Rippin - CEO of MCS - explains more about the role his organisation has to play in bringing about a climate friendly future:
Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS
With energy costs forever rising and climate change affecting us all – low-carbon technology has a bigger and bigger role to play in the future of UK energy.
Working with industry, we define, maintain and improve quality – certifying products and installers to ensure that people have confidence in the low-carbon technology they invest in. From solar and wind to heat pumps, biomass and battery storage, we want to inspire a new generation of home-grown energy, fit for the needs of every UK home and community.
Since 2008, MCS certification has become the recognised UK standard for products and their installation in the small-scale renewables sector. We create and maintain standards that allow for the certification of products, installers and their installations.
MCS certification demonstrates adherence to recognised industry standards, highlighting quality, competency and compliance.
MCS covers electricity generating technologies including solar photovoltaic (PV), micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP), wind turbines up to 50 kilowatts, as well as heat generating technologies such as heat pumps, solar thermal and biomass up to 45 kilowatts.
The UK domestic renewable energy sector has radically changed since our organisation was formed. Since then, nearly 1.2 million homes have been fitted with renewable energy technology and installation cost has dropped by approximately 65%. Achieving new net zero goals won’t be easy but I firmly believe two factors will be central to future success – quality and confidence.
Taking positive action
Many of us worry about climate change and rising energy costs. It’s easy to feel powerless, but there are positive steps you can take.
Renewable, ‘home-grown’ energy is increasingly affordable and gives you the opportunity to heat and/or power your home, independent from external suppliers. From solar panels to wind turbines, biomass boilers to heat pumps, there are many different solutions to suit different needs – no matter what home, building or land that you have.
Generating your own energy reduces your dependence on traditional fossil fuels – lowering your energy bills, and your carbon footprint. Additionally, you could make a financial return from your investment in home-grown energy; either by being paid for excess energy that you generate, or through the Renewable Heat Incentive.
In April 2019, we were delighted to see Octopus launch the UK’s first smart export tariff - outgoingOctopus, which pays people for the green energy they generate at home. Since then, the government introduced the Smart Export Guarantee meaning all major energy suppliers have to offer an export tariff from 2020.
By investing in renewable energy technology you’ll be making a real contribution to the global fight against climate change. A ‘home-grown’ solution is something that matters to people personally – something they can take pride in. That’s exactly the feeling we want to create across the UK as we help more and more people embrace a home-grown energy future. It’s an exciting prospect and one we at MCS are fully committed to making a positive reality.
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