Gemserv, the body responsible for the UK’s Microgeneration Certificate Scheme, is to temporarily suspend the registration of new solar thermodynamic products on to the MCS installation database.
In a letter to all MCS solar thermal installers, Gemserv, which acts as the MCS licensee on behalf of the Department of energy and Climate Change, said the suspension would remain in force until installation requirements for solar thermodynamic solar products had been developed.
Gemserv said the suspension decision had “not been taken lightly” and did not mean products could not be installed in the UK, “simply that they cannot be registered within the MCS installation database”.
But to qualify for the UK’s Renewable Heat Incentive, all solar thermodynamic products must be MCS-certified and be installed by an MCS-approved engineer.
Gemserv cited a number of reasons for its decision to suspend the licensing of products.
Among these it said that the performance of products being installed in the UK could not be fully determined, primarily because they use a specific refrigerant not used in the testing and certification process.
Gemserv also cited hybrid systems using a compression heat exchange unit, which it said would be unable to meet the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for calculating energy ratings for homes, which products are required to pass under MCS.
Gemserv is awaiting development of the requirements for the installation of this product type by the MCS scheme, and said that it was already working with a number of manufacturers to “develop the requirements either by extension to the existing MIS 3001 or MIS 3005 or a brand new scheme document if appropriate”.
Installation companies with contracts with customers in place prior to 5 November 2012 have until 18 November to register completed installations within the MCS database. However, from 19 November, no further installations will be allowed to be registered, with the product unavailable for selection.
A spokesman for the Renewable Energy Association said the body did not want to comment on the implications of the suspension for the industry at this stage.
A full copy of the letter can be found below: