Who Regulates Solar Panel Companies in the UK?
Installing a solar panel system can be a significant financial investment, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re not only getting value for money but a high-quality system that will withstand the elements. So, how should you choose a professional solar installer?
Confirming that a solar installer has the relevant accreditations will give you the reassurance that your solar panels will be properly installed by a professional company, with safety as its top priority.
Are Solar Panels Regulated?
The manufacture and installation of solar photovoltaic systems are regulated to provide consumers with the comfort that solar panels meet rigorous safety standards. There are several different regulatory bodies in the UK, with the MCS and REAL being two of the most well-known.
What Accreditations Should a Solar Installer Have?
Consumers looking for a solar panel system will have a couple of concerns. Firstly, they’ll want to know that the system is installed correctly and securely. Secondly, they’ll want to benefit from all the government grants that they may be eligible for, such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), or previously the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT).
To be eligible for the various government grant schemes, it’s imperative that your solar panels are installed by accredited solar panel installers. At the very minimum, they should be registered with the Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL) scheme and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
Who Are the Accrediting and Regulatory Bodies?
The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA) are also known as Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets). It’s the UK government regulator for the electricity and natural gas markets and serves to protect consumers’ rights, ensuring they benefit from a greener environment. As part of this role, GEMA administers renewable energy schemes on behalf of the government, including operating the SEG grant.
The MCS is a standards organisation, which was formed in 2007. Through the creation and maintenance of product and installation standards for renewable energy products, the MCS provides a recognisable mark of quality.
To become an MCS-registered company, a solar installer must first be registered with the Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL) scheme. Only solar panels installed by an MCS-registered company are eligible for the government’s renewable energy grants.
NAPIT is a government-approved and UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) approved membership scheme, which represents professions such as electricians and solar panel installers. A NAPIT registered installer can offer a degree of guarantee or warranty over their work.
The NICEIC is a non-profit organisation, which acts as an independent regulator. It administers the UK’s largest voluntary register of electrical businesses, with over 36,000 registered companies. Like the NAPIT mark, an NICEIC logo indicates that you’re getting a company that delivers work to a high standard with a focus on safety.
The Renewable Energy Assurance (REA) scheme is backed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Established in 2001, the REA is a not-for-profit trade association with around 500 member organisations. A solar installer registered with REA is required to abide by its consumer code and best practices. Before a solar installer can become MCS-accredited, it must first be registered with REA.
The Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) has been defined to ensure that renewable energy companies deliver high service standards throughout the installation process, within the domestic market. The RECC is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and is also a TrustMark Scheme Operator. In this way, consumers can be confident that they’re making an informed choice for their solar installation.
Solar Energy UK
Formerly known as the Solar Trade Association (STA), Solar Energy UK is an established trade association that represents the end-to-end solar and energy storage value chain. Like many of the other bodies listed here, it’s a non-profit organisation. It’s affiliated with REA and has over 300 member organisations and associates. Solar Energy UK works closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on various renewable energy policy areas including planning permission and installer accreditation.
Do You Need an MCS Certificate to Install Solar Panels?
For peace of mind that your solar panel system operates as expected, you should always make sure that your solar panel installer is MCS-certified. Not only does an MCS-accredited installer deliver your solar panel system to high standards of quality and safety, but only systems that are registered with the MCS will be eligible for the various government grants on offer.
Choosing an installer without an MCS certificate means that you won’t benefit from grants such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) or any other grants that come down the line later on.
Explore Our Solar Solutions
At Mypower, we have years of experience installing solar solutions on behalf of clients across a huge number of sectors, including manufacturing, distribution, and agriculture. Our team is fully qualified to deliver robust solar solutions and we’re accredited with MCS, REC, RECC and NAPIT, amongst others. We have also been recognised with several industry awards To find out how solar energy can benefit your business, get in touch with our friendly team today.