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Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 October 2013 at 3:31 pm

If your renewable heating system is not registered with the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS), there are still a few things you can do, to ensure that you meet the 22 October 2013 deadline for registration. 

If your heating system is not registered on the MCS installation database by 4pm on October 22 you will not be eligible to apply for payments under the renewable heat incentive (RHI) when it launches next spring. By registering you will get an MCS-accreditation certificate, which you will need to apply for the RHI. 

Installaltions that are eligible for RHI include heat pumps, biomass boiilers, wood pellet stoves with a back boiler, and solar thermal (hot water systems). RHI is open to who installed a renewable heating system since July 15, 2009.

Homeowners whose products or installations are either not accredited, or are accredited under a different scheme, have been confused by the short notice of this deadline for registration. Here are answers to some of the questions we have received.  

Do both the system and installer have to be MCS-accredited to qualify for RHI?

Yes – both product and installer must be accredited by the MCS.  

What should I do if I can’t find my MCS accreditation certificate?

If you used an MCS-accredited installer who installed an MCS-accredited system, and then registered the installation but failed to provide you with the certificate, all you need to do is contact the installer, or the MCS helpline on 020 7090 1082, and ask for a copy of the certificate. If the installation was made but not registered with the MCS, you should get onto your installer to complete the registration as soon as possible, and in time for the October 22 deadline.

What should I do if my MCS-accredited installer has gone out of business? 

If you believe your installer has gone out of business after installing your MCS-accredited system and you don't have a certificate of installation, then your first port of call should be the MCS helpline. They will be able to tell you if the installation was registered and if it was, they will be able to send the certificate to you. If your installer went out of business before they registered the installation, then you will need to get another MCS-accredited engineer to come and re-commission your system, and provide you with the certificate. The technical process by which this can be done is currently being drawn up by the MCS to ensure that installations are registered and monitored correctly. A quick call to the MCS helpline will give you the most up to date position, and they will also be able to put you in touch with a local tradesperson who can redo the commissioning process. 

April 2014 update: The MCS guidance is now in place: see this blog for more information.

What if my system is MCS-approved but was installed by a non-MCS-accredited installer?

There used to be an accreditation scheme called Clear Skies which closed in 2008 just as the MCS was getting up and going. At that time, Clear Skies installers and product manufacturers were given a year's grace, in order to move from the Clear Skies register to gaining the MCS certification. This was available to both installers and manufacturers of biomass, heat pumps, solar PV, solar BIPV, solar thermal, wind turbines and hydro technologies. 

After Clear Skies closed, consumers who wished to access any grants were then referred to the MCS. For those wishing to access grants, MCS accreditation becase mandatory for installers from April 3, 2009. 

If your installer is not MCS registered, or if they were Clear Skies registered but failed to make the transfer over to MCS prior to April 2009, then you will not be eligible for RHI payments – regardless of whether your product is MCS-accredited or not.

What if my installer was MCS-accredited but my installation was accredited under a different scheme?

MCS does recognise the Solar Keymark scheme which is a European-wide accreditation scheme for renewable products. Having a Solar Keymark installation, is not an impediment to claiming RHI. 

Clear Skies also provided a product accreditation scheme and when Clear Skies folded in 2008, a similar period of grace was afforded to product manufacturers to transfer over to MCS. Under the rules for claiming RHI, it became mandatory for products to be MCS accredited from January 2010. 

If you can provide a contract or a receipt for a Clear Skies accredited installation, proving that is was made by an MCS-accredited installer between 15 July 2009 and January 2010, then that will not present a barrier to claiming RHI payments.

However, you will still need the MCS accreditation certificate. Contact the MCS helpline to ask them to recommend a local MCS-accredited engineer to come and re-commission your system and generate the certificate for you. 

I thought the MCS required installations to be registered within 10 days of a system being fully installed and commissioned?

Technically this is true although up until now, the MCS has not strictly enforced this. However, once the October 22 deadline passes, the MCS plans to get strict. "MCS will be enforcing the 10 working day period... by restricting the database to only allow the registration of systems within the 10 working day period from the commissioning date," they tell me. "The commissioning date on the MCS certificate must align with the date on all related commissioning paperwork kept on file. Failure to register installations on the database will mean that installers will be unable to generate an MCS certificate." If you're planning an installation at a future date with a view to claiming RHI: you have been warned! 

 

More information

The YouGen guide to the renewable heat incentive

From the blog

Deadline for MCS registration approaches (Sept 2013)

How do I claim the renewable heat incentive? (Sept 2013)

Domestic RHI: your questions answered (July 2013)

Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Compfight cc

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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Comments

10 comments - read them below or add one

Tasha Kosviner

Tasha KosvinerComment left on: 20 June 2014 at 10:50 am

Hi Jack

Yes - see this blog for the latest guidance. Hope that helps

Tasha

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stjrp

stjrpComment left on: 19 June 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hi

Have there been any developments on retrospective certification?  I have an eligible heat pump, but the installer has ceased trading.

Thanks Jack

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Tasha Kosviner

Tasha KosvinerComment left on: 2 December 2013 at 11:26 am

An update to the '10-day rule' mentioned in the final FAQ above: The MCS has issued guidance for installers who have missed the 10-day deadline for registering newly comissioned installations - it will still be possible if your installer provides details and an explanation to the MCS via an email to mcs@gemserv.com. See the full guidance here.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 21 October 2013 at 9:56 am

Read an update from DECC here

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 15 October 2013 at 2:32 pm

I've just spoken to MCS - they say that the 22 October deadline is for those people who can contact their original installer. If your original installer has gone out of business, then the system for getting your heating system accredited will be published this week I hope (I was told it was due to go up today, but wasn't quite ready to). Keep an eye on the news section of the MCS website, which is where it will be published. We'll be checking regularly too, and will update you here as soon as we know more.

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Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 8 October 2013 at 1:41 pm

Still no sign of the guidance notes regarding requirements to register existing renewable energy systems. Spoke to the MCS again this morning and they hope to get them out before the deadline, less than 2 weeks away now! I said I didn't think this was very satisfactory. I was then advised to send in an email to say that I would like to receive a copy of the guidelines when they come out. I would advise others in the same boat as me to do the same.

As part of the same email, I am going to send what documentation I already have rather than risk missing the deadline. At least this way I am registering my interest and hopefully will buy some more time.

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Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 5 October 2013 at 11:10 am

Cathy – thanks for your response. Yes I have indeed been proactive and since my last post I have spoken to a gentleman at the MCS help desk. The situation, IMO, is more bizarre than ever!

It seems that the boiler I have was one of a series, each model having a different power output. Mine is a 30 kW. Two of the lower output models were registered with the MCS between July 2009 and June 2010, and the remainder (including my model) were registered between Feb 2010 and June 2011. It appears then that because my model was registered after my installation took place (Sept 2009), I will not be eligible for the RHI scheme. What possible difference should that make – it’s not as if I have received payments under the RHI scheme already, and somehow obtained these under false pretences. I would say, fair enough if the boiler had never been registered for some reason but it was – and over 3 years ago now! My only hope it seems is if I can show that the boiler was approved under the previous Clear Skies scheme. I will be contacting the boiler manufacturer on Monday to try to ascertain this.

The second thing I learnt yesterday, and this may be of interest to others too, is regarding the notion of getting a second MCS certified installer to come in now and retrospectively register the installation. The installer of my system was MCS approved at the time but has gone out of business since, hence I am looking at this idea. According to the MCS, the new person/company who will carry out the retrospective certification has to have been MCS registered at the same time that the installation originally took place i.e. Sept 2009. Again I have to ask myself, what is the logic in that? If the second company was registered one year ago or five years ago, either way they will be equally unfamiliar with my installation and will have to come and ask the same questions and demand the same documentation. I had already been in contact with an MCS certified installer and he has agreed to do the registration for me, but the company has only been registered for one year, so that’s the end of that it seems. The guy at the MCS is going to email me a list of MCS installers in my area who were registered in Sept 2009 but as I live in fairly rural west Wales I am not expecting a huge list and if there are any, then they are probably snowed under with work!

Could be an interesting 2 weeks ahead. Watch this space as they say.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 4 October 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hi Jeff 

I sympathise with your situation, but I think the best thing to do now is to address those questions to MCS and be persistent in pursuing it as we don't have the detailed answers that you require. Good luck, and do let us know how you get on.

Cathy

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Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 3 October 2013 at 11:35 pm

Further to my last post I see that I have been using the wrong database for approved wood pellet boilers! I have found the correct one now on the MCS website. However my boiler (Scotte OPOP H430) is not listed. Did this database exist back in 2009? If it didn't, can the current list be back-dated to that time or could/should I be exempted from the current requirements?

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Jeff B

Jeff BComment left on: 3 October 2013 at 5:43 pm

Tasha - thanks for this useful update. Can I raise a couple of points please:

1. My installer went out of business before my installation was registered with MCS. In the part of your post which deals with this you say:

"If your installer went out of business before they registered the installation, then you will need to get another MCS-accredited engineer to come and re-commission your system, and provide you with the certificate. The technical process by which this can be done is currently being drawn up by the MCS to ensure that installations are registered and monitored correctly."

I am in this exact situation and we are just 19 days away from the deadline. I have another MCS accredited company who is willing to re-commission but how long is the MCS going to take to come up with the correct "technical process"?! Would it be better to get something in to them rather than nothing by the 22nd, even if it is not perfect (assuming that is, that this magical technical process is not forthcoming in good time)?

2. As I understand it (from a local Green Deal Assessor) my wood pellet boiler is not on the so-called Product Characteristics Database but then again there are hardly any on it apparently (just five I believe). Did I not read somewhere that any new MCS rules apply only at the time of publication (and forwards) and will not be back-dated? Perhaps I have got the wrong end of the stick here and maybe this database is not applicable in this context? As far as I can see there are lots and lots of gas and oil fired boilers on this database too, so surely quite irrelevant to any kind of green energy discussions!

Thanks.

Jeff

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