BRE to share certification of green energy kite mark

The government has announced the expansion of a quality mark scheme for green energy products - such as solar PV, biomass and micro wind - and their installers.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) builds upon a two-year pilot run by the BRE. 450 installers and 30 product manufacturers took part in the trial. Now the government wants to open the scheme up to a wider pool of certification bodies beyond the BRE.

The Department for Business and Regulatory Reform (DBERR) set the scheme up to underpin its Low Carbon Buildings fund programme. Successful applicants for the fund need to use both products and an installer certified under the MCS.

“Other initiatives, such as the proposed stamp duty land tax relief for new zero carbon homes, are also likely to use MCS in the future,” the scheme web site, run by the BRE, adds.

Concurrently, the government announced it was also looking for a new administrator for the scheme as a two-year contract with the BRE ends next month.

Energy minister, Malcolm Wicks, said the scheme was important to help consumers live a greener life:

“Households, businesses and communities can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions by generating their own electricity or heat from renewable energy sources. It is important that [they] can rely on the MCS to oversee this is (sic) being done responsibly.”

Chris Roberts, associate director, BRE, said he hoped the scheme widening would allow more companies to get the kite mark: "450 companies have already applied to be certified. There are many thousands of heating and electrical companies in the country. Ideally we would like them all to offer microgeneration, but if they did the BRE would be swamped."

He added that competition might help bring prices down but needed to be carefully managed: "Other companies want to get involved and we don't want to stop them. Some say they can do it cheaper. The challenge will be combining lower costs with the right level of rigour needed to protect consumers and specifiers."

Ultimately, however, UKAS, which polices certifiers will decide as it needs to provide its own quality assurance to any certification body wishing to take part.