Discuss Continuing with MCS? in the Solar PV Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

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sparkynick

It's that time of year again, the MCS licence fee is due.
Question is, is it worth persevering with MCS registration and PV installation.

I can't see any hope of an improvement in the market and the green deal looks like a complete no hoper for the smaller contractors wanting to do a quality job for a reasonable price.

I have only installed one system since December, admittedly I haven't particularly persued solar PV work, I've focused on our electrical contracting work which is currently ticking along nicely.

I'm struggling to justify £500 plus VAT on renewing our MCS plus REAL on top and that's not to mention potential costs associated with the GD. It seems a shame after jumping through all the hoops but I can't see any realistic chance of improvement.

What's the general consensus?
 

moggy1968

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I decided not to renew, but then picked up a couple of jobs before the august cut off. I managed to get a cancellation appt on my assessment but it ran a bit close to the wire thanks to a noncom on my assessment which meant my registration didn't come through until the last week of July, wouldn't want to cut it that close again!!
I think without those couple of jobs to cover the cost I wouldn't have bothered. The advantage of the break was I was able to class my assessment as a first assessment which meant I didn't have to get all my paperwork up to date for the previous years work. The slight dissadvantage is that, although I have the same registration number, according to the MCS website we have only been registered since July 2012 when infact it's been a couple of years longer than that.
 
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finchy

We've got our annual inspection in a couple weeks. I'm going to press on with it, to be honest the mcs framework(elements of) has now been deployed accross the whole company, which is a one good thing from all the pain of setting up. We havent got any jobs lined up or any enquiries but we arent advertising or anything so cant complain.

We are going to stick with Solar as its something I'm very passionate about and will persue at my own cost if need be. Its a shame if people like you do quit as I guess the rogue's will remain !!
 

dansk

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same for me, ive paid my reneal the other day even though we dont have much going on, im giving it 12 months then letting go if nothing comes in, only need a couple of jobs to cover the renewal so thought may as well, but im not holding my breath for much work.
 

The Solar King

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There was an old bull and a young bull in a field. The young bull said to the old bull let's run accross the field and **** a cow each. The old bull said no. Let's walk accross and **** them all.

This is my business model. This is my approach to MCS. You need to be the last man standing. If you believe in this business, do not flinch.
 
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Worcester

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We're investing in training and certification in all the renewables technologies bar AD, as I see it especially with the governments 2016 target for zero carbon homes. As energy prices go up, I believe more and more people will start to look at reducing their energy costs long term as well. The Green Deal is well meant, and fundamentally flawed. What it will do is stimulate interest in the whole area OVER TIME.

The question is: What does your 10 year, 5 year, and 1 year business plan look like? Let me make it simpler: Next year will you turn over more or less than last year? - WHO is in charge of YOUR business. - I am in charge of mine and I don't care what the Government does - (even dropping the odd cow pat here and there :) )
 
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sparkynick

There was an old bull and a young bull in a field. The young bull said to the old bull let's run accross the field and **** a cow each. The old bull said no. Let's walk accross and **** them all.

This is my business model. This is my approach to MCS. You need to be the last man standing. If you believe in this business, do not flinch.
My worry is that the last man/men standing will be the ones that are just throwing systems in for the big GD providers for next to nothing with no consideration to the standard of equipment and installation.
Having said that I have serious doubts if even the pile it high and throw it in PV installers could make PV work under the green deal.

As Worcester said, additional training (I've already done AS heat pumps) might be worth doing. But there doesn't seem to be much of a market for these technologies at the moment.

As for the business plan for the solar side, thats been blown out of the water by the changes to the FiT and GD. Turnover and profit are a fraction of last years and I'm glad I didn't neglect the electrical side of the business when solar was going flat out.

My thought is to take a year out of the solar market, get additional training in other renewable technologies and come back next year when the market is a little more settled.
 
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MrKnowItAll

My opinion is this:

You've already paid for your core competencies (as in your PV course), being an electrical contractor, you will be up to date with your 2382 and your Part P registration. For the sake of £500 (and if you get in touch with me, I can take a look at how much you are paying now and see if I can get you a better deal) it gives you the option to win PV work.

I mean, how many PV installs do you really need to do to make £500 GP? One? Two? My guess is the cost for continuing your registration would be buried in the first install's profit.
 

Worcester

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My guess is the cost for continuing your registration would be buried in the first install's profit.

Prophet? What Profit?

With all the requirements over EPC's and the number of people that some installers are having to visit to find properties that won't get a 'D' even on a good day, it would take more than one to make PROFIT, a couple and you'll start to break even. - It's not the £500, it's a day out ... plus for even the best organised installer an extra day or so just making sure everything is ship shape before the visit - closer to £1k.. so four installs and your back on track..

Just my tuppence worth

However.. as above I still thinks it's worth it just beacuse you've already invested a lot more than that, and have started to understand customers thinking. PV isn't going away, a lot of installers will.
 
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MrKnowItAll

PV isn't going away, a lot of installers will.
I think you're absolutely right with that. I think people are misunderstanding my angle here. I'm trying to focus on the amount of money ALREADY invested by installers such as yourself, I know very little about how much profit companies do or do not make from doing PV installs. I know the cost of kit and I know the average selling price for those kits.

My point is this, you've already done the hard work, you may as well stick around to see what happens until you'd have to reinvest a lot of time and money to get yourself back to the same square. Do you want to take a year out only to find when you come back that there have been a shedload of changes made to the scheme that makes you big ol' dusty QMS a serious effort to update? Takes it from a day and a half to get squared away into the realm of possibly having to go and do more training, or spending a length of time to put right what could have been kept on top of?
 

Worcester

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Day was good! Our MCS Audit done and dusted by 11:15 am ...
A good quality QMS, followed through, and maintained during the year was the key (oh and a day or so in advance making sure I had got everything easily to hand :) .. No Noncoms :)

OK, so MrKnowItAll, let me explain how you can help us here. Give us some valuable advice, rather than just comment, and we'll respect your input :)

WHAT Should we be doing to prepare for forthacoming changes to the MCS, (if they come)?
What do we need to do, and when do we need to have it done by?
How is it going to impact the organisation of my day to day business?
What are the financical implications (costs) of the changes?
What's the easiest way to comply?

Apart from the excellent contributions by TedM, What we (the industry) lacks is a single point of contact where we can go to get factual, knowledgeable, comment and advice on for isntance:

How to prepare for your first MCS Visit.
What REAL will wat to see when they do their audit.
What can I expect at my second vist, and how should I prepare for it.
The New MCS Guidlelines for Heatpumps - what does it mean?

Give me a monthly newsletter with news, past events, upcoming changes, with what it means TO ME, as a Renewable Energy company.

Set up a blog (I'll even host it for you for free :)

Even better, I've already done it for you, in an hour, MCSExpert.co.uk will be up and running and you can start your blog there, I'll set it up for you so that you can control and edit all the content

(give and ye shall recieve :) )
 

moggy1968

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mrknowit all
you appear to have forgotten about REAl membership, Genserve membership, specialist insurance etc. There's a lot of parasites in this solar thing. I would say even 4 installs is a conservative estimate to cover your costs in terms of time and actual physical cost. Each install involves around a day of paperwork, and thats without the ridiculous paperwork of the quality manual, which insists on such ridiculous things as having quarterly meetings with myself!

With my current level of business this is a hobby, not a business.
 
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