The main UK quality assurance scheme for low-carbon and renewable energy technologies are the DECC-supported Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). It is through the MCS that hydroelectricity systems below 50kW must be registered in order to be eligible for the FiT generation and export tariffs. Your hydro system installer should help you with this process.
The MCS-accredited installation company will also help you to determine the feasibility of the project, based initially on the head and flow measurements of the available watercourse, before you make any large capital commitments. They will also visit the proposed installation site in order to take measurements and assess its suitability, for which there will be a charge.
Moreover, installers should give you an idea of the likely output of the system, the revenue it is likely to generate, as well as any maintenance costs and requirements. Some installation companies may even be able to train you to undertake maintenance checks yourself.
The installation company will also facilitate your connection to the National Grid by liaising with your local District Network Operator (DNO). A map of regional DNOs can be found here: http://www.energynetworks.org/info/faqs/electricity-distribution-map.html
It is therefore essential to ensure that your hydro system installer/supplier is accredited by an MCS-appointed certification body. MCS-accredited companies must conform to rigorous quality and safety standards and meet Office of Fair Trading (OFT) requirements.
It is always necessary to ensure that the hydroelectricity system that you plan to install is MCS-certified, which means that it has been subjected to testing and rigorous quality controls. A you can see many products that meet this certification on The Renewable Energy Marketplace.
The MCS also have an industry Code of Practice and can investigate complaints on behalf of consumers.
For more information, visit the MCS website:
For hydro systems of more than 50kW and up to 5MW (which will include most installations for business and community use) to be eligible for the Feed-in Tariff scheme, it is necessary to apply for ROO-FiT (Renewables Obligation Order-Feed-in Tariff) accreditation. This is done through Ofgem, the government energy regulator.
This process will involve providing information of the total installed capacity of the system, an ordnance survey grid reference, as well as details of metering. More information on applying for ROO-FiT accreditation is available here:
Reputable renewable energy installation companies should also be a member of Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL). Membership of REAL indicates that a company has signed up to its OFT-approved Consumer Code, which ensures high service standards before, during and after the installation of renewable energy technology. Any sub-contractors engaged by installation companies must also comply with the REAL codes of practice.
Details of the code of practice and a list of REAL scheme member companies can be found on their website:
REAL is a subsidiary of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), a not-for-profit trade association which promotes renewable energy technology use. Visit their website at http://www.r-e-a.net/
There are also industry bodies which promote the use of hydropower in homes, businesses and communities, such as the British Hydropower Association (http://www.british-hydro.org/index.html), and the Microhydro Association, whose website contains useful information on hydropower and details of installation and capacity statistics in the UK: http://www.microhydroassociation.org/.
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