Consumer protection schemes

When you buy renewable energy technology, you are protected by schemes that cover not just the products and their performance but also the services provided by installers. There are more details on consumers' legal rights in the  consumer section of the government's Directgov site.

For you to be eligible for Feed-In TariffRenewable Heat Incentive or Renewable Heat Premium Payments, both your system and your installer will have to be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme or Solar Keymark Scheme

 

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)  

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) demonstrates that an installer can install to the highest quality every time, using MCS-certified products that have met rigorous testing standards. The scheme ensures protection relating to any technical aspect of your install.

To check that your installer is MCS certified,  search for them on the MCS website or call the Energy Saving Trust for free advice on 0800 512 012.

For more information about the scheme,  go to the MCS website.

 

Solar Keymark  

Supported by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, the Solar Keymark certifies compliance of a product with the relevant European standards and is the official European benchmark for solar panels and systems.

Products that have been certified under the Solar Keymark will also be eligible for the Renewable Heat Premium Payment and future Renewable Heat Incentives.

Find out more at the Solar Keymark website.

 

Renewables Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

Renewable Energy Consumer Code (REAL) is a subsidiary of the Renewable Energy Association. One of the schemes operated by REAL is the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) which is a consumer code of conduct. It operates under the Consumer Code Approval Scheme run by the Trading Standards Institute. The scheme is designed to deliver a high standard of service to anyone wishing to purchase a renewable energy system.

All MCS-certified installers must belong to a Consumer Code which is approved by the Trading Standards Institute an OFT-backed consumer code-of-conduct scheme, and. The Renewable Energy Consumer Code REAL Assurance Scheme  is currently the only approved one within this industry sector. The Code sets out high standards in relation to consumer protection, and requires installers to provide protection for deposit payments and workmanship warranties. The Code ensures that MCS-approved installers:

  • are forbidden to use high-pressure selling or inducement to force quick buying decisions
  • provide consumers with a seven-day cooling-off period regardless of the method of sale
  • explain certain information to consumers both in writing and verbally
  • give realistic estimates of the likely performance of the product in a way that can be understood by consumers
  • provide a workmanship warranty for a minimum of two years

For more information about the Renewable Energy Consumer Code, see the RECC website. 

Deposit and Workmanship Warranty Insurance

All Renewable Energy Consumer Code members must provide protection for deposits and advance payments they take from domestic consumers in the event they cease to trade. In addition, Code members must provide protection for their workmanship guarantee in the event they cease to trade. This protection is normally offered via an insurance scheme.

The Renewable Energy Consumer Code has worked with an insurance provider, Quality Assured National Warranties (QANW), to design an insurance scheme for its members known as the ‘Deposit and Workmanship Warranty Insurance' (DAWWI) Scheme. However, Code members are free to make their own, equivalent arrangements so long as they comply with the Code, should they wish to. Whatever arrangements they have in place, please be aware that you will not be covered unless you have an insurance policy in your name in your possession. You should always check with your installer what arrangements they have in place to comply with the Code.

You will not be asked to pay anything for the insurance cover, either to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code or to the company you’re contracting with. The Code member must ask your permission to pass on your details to the insurance provider, so that your insurance policy can be set up. They must also provide you with details as to how the scheme works.

A deposit insurance policy typically gives you cover for 120 days and you may have the option of extending it if required.
Once you have paid a deposit and/or once your installation is complete, it is important that you check that you have received your policy documents from your installer’s Insurance provider.

Further information about the DAWWI scheme can be found on the  RECC website.

To check that your installer is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code you can access a  member directory on the RECC website or call RECC on 0207 981 0850.

For more information about the Renewable Energy Consumer Code, go to the  RECC website.

 

Other sites

There are more details on consumers' legal rights in the  consumer section of the government's Directgov site.

Once you have installed your energy generator, please tell the RECC team how you found the experience. You can  give your feedback online.

If you want to log a complaint about one of the REAL members, you can also  do this online at the REAL website.