Certification bodies for Wind Turbines
Wind Turbine Certification Bodies
Most renewable technologies are now subject to certification which means that under EU regulations they are fit for purpose and safe to use. If you are considering using an installer who cannot provide the appropriate documentation or is not a member of any of the bodies outlined below, then you may like to think twice.
Any wind turbine manufacturer or installer you use needs to be registered through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), especially if you wish to take advantage of any Feed in Tariff that may be available. It makes sense to choose someone who has taken the time to get the right credentials – it doesn’t guarantee that you are going to receive the best service and installation but it gives you organisations to fall back on if things start to go wrong.
What is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)?
The MCS is a quality certification mark that is designed to protect the consumer from bad practice and rogue traders. It essentially says that the installer or supplier meets the rigorous quality controls set down by EU and other industry regulations for the installation or development of any renewable technology. If your installer comes without it, then alarm bells should start ringing.
The main benefits of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme are:
- Quality control and consumer protection – MCS have a code of practice and can take on complaints if problems occur.
- Financial incentives such as the Feed in Tariff.
- Access to installation without planning permission for some technologies.
You can find out more about the MCS here.
Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd
A reputable installer will also be a member of the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL) which have a strict code of practice that everyone has to comply with. This also applies to any subcontractors your installer uses whilst working on your renewable energy project.
The REA has produced the Renewable Energy Consumer Code which provides a guide to anyone considering changing to more eco-friendly ways of powering their home.
The Renewable Energy Consumer Code
The REA believes that having the right high quality installations with proper maintenance is not only beneficial for consumers it is also for vital for the industry to thrive. Whilst more and more people are coming on board and looking to use renewable energy for their homes, there is still a certain amount of reticence when it comes to installing something like a wind turbine. The REA advises the following steps before you actually take the plunge and start contacting installers or manufacturers.
- Do your research. Most of us aren’t technologically minded but you can now find all the information you need, in a digestible form, on the internet. It pays to know what you are talking about.
- Be sure why you want to invest in a renewable energy source. Do you simply want to have cheaper energy bills and a better carbon footprint? Or do you want to make money off your investment? What level of wind turbine do you need to install to benefit from the Feed in Tariff and is that viable for your site?
- Are you choosing the right technology? When people think of renewable energy it is often restricted to solar or wind but there are a wide range of other technologies available such as biomass and heat pumps that may well be more suitable for your needs.
- Get to grips with your current energy usage: Have you done everything you can to cut your domestic or business energy bills, including better insulation and more efficient heating systems?
- Get more than one quotation. The REA advises that you opt for at least three so that you can get a clear comparison of what is available.
- Read the Renewable Energy Code before you decide to sign any contract and make sure that your installer is complying with all the points in it.
The RECC monitors its members quite closely and carries out a random audit every year of about a third of those who have signed up to the code. They also have measures in place whereby, if you have had a poor experience, you can contact them with a complaint.
Another place to go for up to date information on the state of domestic, small to medium size wind turbines is the Renewable UK website. They help to push forward such initiatives as the Small Wind Turbine Standard that adds some valuable support to the MCS and further ensures that you are getting a product that is fit for purpose.
Installer and Sales Rep Tactics to Avoid
Across the industry there is some sound advice for those who are inviting wind turbine installers or sales representatives into their homes. As we all know, there are rogue traders out there who don’t adhere to good practice. These are our top tips:
- If a rep is stuck in your home for more than two hours trying to convince you to buy, he or she is probably more worried about their commission than the quality of the product they are going to install and whether it is right for your needs.
- If the installer or rep starts by offering you a high initial price and then brings it down substantially, be on your guard.
- If they offer you discounts for either signing that day or providing good testimonials to boost their own sales, make sure you resist the urge to pick up your pen.
- If they hold back important price information before the end or claim that the product they are trying to install has a limited availability, then opt for another, more reputable installer.
Always make sure you have done your research about the technology you are opting for and check that the installer has the right certification and quality controls in place before you agree to anything. You can check our list of reputable installers here.