The MCS database has been experiencing delays processing applicants due to a late surge in demand, created by the impending March 3 deadline.

Users have reported severe delays in the application process since 23 February, with some users reportedly being unable to access the database completely.

The delay in the database is the latest in a series of failings from the MCS website that struggled to cope with the increased level of demand last December. In response to the December outage, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, reported that new servers and support lines for the MCS website were quadrupled to help deal with 9000 new applicants a day.

MCS has acknowledged the problems faced by installers trying to access the database, stating: “Please note that due to a high volume of installations being registered on the MCS database, the MCS certificates are currently being held in a queue before being released from the system. The held certificates should now be indicating a pending status. At the moment certificates are taking up to 2 hours to be received after finish has been clicked when an installer registers the installation.”

The surge in install numbers are a response to proposals laid in parliament by DECC to reduce the FiT rate for solar down to 21p/kWh for <4kWp systems. However, the department has announced its intention to challenge a Judicial Review that deemed DECC had acted illegally by implementing a ‘retrospective’ December 12 reference date. Therefore, any systems installed between December 12-March 3 cannot be guaranteed the higher FiT rate of 43.3p/kWh until the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal.

MCS has confirmed that: “If your certificate is in the pending status, it will be sent out to you today, but due to the high volumes this is taking much longer than normal. The delay is due to converting the information entered for the installation into a pdf certificate, which we cannot speed up. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your patience.”

A DECC spokeswoman told SPP that Germserve, the company who run the MCS website, has confimed that the website is “working, but running slowly due to the volume of users accessing the database. People are advised to keep trying.”