Solar water heating grants update 6th November 2009.
Today the UK’s regulatory gateway to solar thermal grants, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, published historic changes which permit solar hot water heating installations to be retrofitted to existing hot water cylinders. Such installations were previously excluded from grant aid. The Solartwin presentation to MCS which helped to deliver this change is here.
This wider scope is a breakthough in consumer access to solar water heating and the change will instantly improve solar heating costs-benefits by 10-20%.
This levelling off of the solar market which was previously geared towards subsidising equipment rather than energy, is a consequence of bold changes made by the MCS Steering Group on the 27th October 2009 to section 4.4.3 of MIS 3001 (the MCS Solar Heating Microgeneration Installer Standard MIS 3001 Issue 1.6 Solar Heating 29 Oct 09). This revised solar installations standard document is now available here .
It makes pretty turgid reading (!) but in summary, the blood-soaked new clause 4.4.3 in MIS 3001 roughly translates as:
Solartwin’s safer than normal retrofit installations using existing cylinders are theoretically OK for MCS and thereby for LCBP etc grants – provided that the existing hot water cylinders are properly insulated (for example with an extra jacket) and in good condition. Under a pre-existing clause all installations also need to have thermostatic blender valves.
Solartwin are still at a market disadvantage and are now playing catch-up because existing solar installer-resellers who are MCS to MIS 3001 can install our kits with grants for their customers as from tonight! (OK – imagine the nightmare of installing solar panels on a roof in the dark in the drizzle tonight on the Friday night after Guy Fawkes night with fireworks all over the place…)
But to get real, and assuming that there are no further competition further tripwires (and that we can overcome our past experience on such matters which is that more will be in the process of being laid) then all Solartwin need to do now is to get ourselves as installers accredited to MIS 3001. This process may yet take months so for our customers it is just business as usual at Solartwin – with us continuing to discount UK installations by £400 of in lieu of grant.
To date, we have already given away several hundred thousand pounds in lieu of grants already and these £400 discounts will simply be continuing until we finally get a level playing field with our competitors.
My sincere thanks go to to all our customers, suppliers, consultants and to everyone working at Solartwin for their lobbying, patience and trust in the future! – Barry Johnston of Solartwin.
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