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New regulations drive amendments to heat pump MCS standards, in turn affecting RHI eligibility criteria

What is MCS and how does it affect the RHI?

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), is the over-arching body responsible for setting industry standards for renewable microgeneration installations throughout the United Kingdom (UK). In order to receive Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments, both the product and the installer must be accredited under MCS and comply with their standards for the industry. 

ErP and amendments to MCS standards.

In line with a regular review, both solar thermal and solid biofuel MCS standards have been updated. However it is recent European legislation, concerning the efficiency of Energy-related Products (ErP) that has led to the introduction of the ‘ErP Directive’ (2009/125/EC) – resulting in a required change to the heat pump MCS standards. Although ErP was officially published in November 2009, the new regulation comes into force for heat pumps on the 26th of September 2015. It is being introduced in an attempt to minimise the environmental impact throughout the full life-cycle of the product whilst driving efficiency and creating a level-playing field for businesses across Europe.

Implications for manufacturers, installers and customers’ alike.

The main difference is the added responsibility placed on manufacturers and installers to clearly declare, the product efficiency under test conditions and the overall package efficiency of the installed system, respectively. In order to achieve this, MCS has produced a Seasonal Co-efficient of Performance (SCOP) calculator which will produce a Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) for a heat pump which takes into account the product itself and the SCOPs for different flow temperatures of 35 and 55 degrees Celsius. 

Final remarks and additional information.

The updated MCS standards, applicable to all heat pumps entering the European market, must therefore:

  • be compliant with the new MCS standards
  • achieve a minimum SPF of 2.5 using the SCOP calculator
  • have a product label, showing efficiency of the heat pump at 35 and 55 degrees Celsius
  • have a package label, declaring the overall efficiency of the heat pump system: taking into account all elements.

There will be a grace period, lasting until 26th March 2016, whereby both the old and the new MCS standards will be in operation, allowing manufacturers and installers alike to use up existing stock whilst familiarising themselves with the new SCOP calculator. After this date, heat pumps which have not demonstrated that they are ErP compliant will no longer be MCS certified and will therefore be ineligible to claim the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

You can also download the official DECC summary of these changes.

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