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