Certification Requirements Could Hinder UK Solar Market

According to EUPD Research, an organization that is studying the UK PV market, an important aspect of the feed-in tariff (FIT) regulation could stymie growth of the solar market in the UK.

Part of the FIT regulation stipulates that PV installers putting in systems that are less than 50 kW must be accredited by the Micro-generation Certificate Scheme (MCS).  Currently systems of that size are the most lucrative under the FIT and therefore make up approximately 78% of the market, according the EUPD research report titled The UK Photovoltaic Market 2010 – Tapping the Fullest Potential.

The report points out that there is no standardization in the certification scheme, meaning that installers can become MCS accredited in a variety of different ways. This means that the accreditation of one installer can take a longer period of time and be more expensive than that of another installer. That and the fact that installers need to pay for certification out of their own pockets could eventually scare off a number of small installers; the consequence of which would be not enough solar PV installation professionals to service demand in this segment as well as a regulation induced limitation of the market.

In addition, EUPD notes that this hurdle could be seen by manufacturers of solar components as an opportunity to establish distribution channels at a grass roots level. They could target installers who have shied way from the process to date and offer to pay for their certification process as a way of binding the installer to the company.

In addition to the analysis of the sales markets, the report investigates the current framework conditions, the procurement market and the distribution channels.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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