MCS consultation results revealed

12 Oct 2023

Solar PV installer

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has published the outcome of its latest consultation, unveiling plans for the future development of the scheme. The consultation period ran from 5th June to July 17th, with hundreds of responses collected from across the sector. More than half of respondents were renewable energy and heating system installers.

Outcomes include:

  • Restructuring the scheme to place consumer protection at its heart
  • Simplification of scheme documents to make MCS more accessible to contractors
  • Refining MCS installation standards to become solely technical requirements
  • Removing mandatory requirement to purchase insurance-backed guarantees (IBGs)

One of the biggest changes and something many in the industry has called for, is a shift in how contractors are assessed to gain and maintain MCS certification. At the moment, there is a big onus on paperwork and Quality Management Systems, which is off-putting for many installers. In the new proposals, assessments in the future will focus on the delivered quality of systems installed, rather than back-office administration.

A compliance risk model is also being introduced, with more compliance effort spent on higher risk contractors. Contractors considered lower risk will require less site assessments. Risk factors might include number of complaints, with assessment levels reducing after two years operating as an MCS certified renewable installation business.

MCS will also take a more active, centralised role in dealing with contractors, consumers and complaints, taking ownership of dispute management for the sector. Safeguarding consumers will now be at the heart of the scheme. An industry first, MCS will be proactively contacting every consumer with an MCS certified installation to measure satisfaction.

MCS CEO, Ian Rippin, said: “I want to sincerely thank all those that have contributed to the proposed changes to MCS. I have personally read every response and value all of the feedback we have received.

“I’m pleased to see that the majority of our proposals were endorsed, and we have started work to move forward with these. Some proposals won’t be taken forward as the sector has made it clear they don’t fully address the challenges we had highlighted in the consultation, but we will now work to find different solutions to better address these issues.

“This process is a first major step forward in the redevelopment of the MCS scheme. When I became CEO five years ago, I pledged to make the scheme stronger, simpler and fairer. This redevelopment will be critical in enabling the growth needed in the low-carbon technology sector, making MCS fit for the future and giving people confidence in home-grown energy.”

Mark Krull, Director for LCL Awards, commented: “I am particularly encouraged to see a move away from unnecessary paperwork to meet MCS certification criteria. What’s important is that renewable technologies are installed safely and correctly – this is what the consumer is concerned with.

“It will be interesting to see the finer details of the planned reforms, but early signs suggest the MCS of the future will better serve installers and their customers.”

MCS will now proceed with the development of the new scheme. Standards and associated documents will be published before the end of 2023. Following a period of transition, the redeveloped scheme will launch in summer 2024.

LCL Awards renewable qualifications meet the training criteria for MCS Certification. 

Read the full MCS consultation report, here: MCS Scheme Redevelopment: Consultation Outcome