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Generating renewable electricity

Installing renewables


  • generate your own energy
  • lower your household emissions
  • reduce your energy bills

There is a lot to consider before and after installing a renewable system, but having one at home will help reduce your energy bills and household carbon footprint.

Our useful guide will help to ensure you cover all the important steps for installation, so that you can get the most out of your system.

Before installing a renewables system

Find a reputable installer

You can use our online assessment tool, Go Renewable, to find out what renewable technologies are suitable for your home.

Use Go Renewable

Once you know what technologies you need, we recommend you choose a certified installer and system that are accredited through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

MCS is a quality assurance scheme supported by the UK Government, which certifies products and installers. To find an accredited installer in your local area, use the search function on the MCS website.

In Scotland, you can search for information and customer reviews on MCS installers in your area by visiting the Renewables Installer Finder.

You should try to find an installer who is also listed on the Competent Persons Register. Registered installers can self-certify that their work complies with building regulations and will give you a certificate of compliance when the work is complete, so you do not need to submit a building notice.

Check which approved consumer code the installer is registered with and what other protections and guarantees they can offer you.

Get a quote

We recommend you get at least three quotes from three different installers. Beware of heavy-handed sales techniques, such as pressure to sign on the day, high prices with large discounts for signing on the spot, or bogus monitoring scheme discounts. Don’t compare installers on cost alone – the cheapest may not be the most appropriate.

Check your quotations for the following:

  • Will the installer project manage the whole job, or will you need to arrange and pay for other trades such as electricians, plumbers or groundwork contractors?
  • Do the prices cover the distribution system (radiators and associated pipework) and the safe removal and disposal of any existing equipment, for example your old boiler?
  • Do prices cover the cost of commissioning the system? All accredited installers are certified to commission systems once fully installed to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
  • Available options, including size, fuel type, hot water storage, and maintenance cycles.
  • The efficiency values of the system.
  • Payment options. Your deposit should not be more than 25 per cent of the full cost. You should check that this will be protected with insurance.
  • For heating systems, ask whether the cost of integration with your home’s heating system, or a proposed heating system, is included.

Check planning permission and building warrants

Depending on the kind of property and installation, you may also need to get planning permission or a building warrant from your local planning authority. Make sure you have the right permissions in place before beginning installation.

If your home is a listed building, you will almost certainly require consent from your local authority. You should always check with your local planning department to find out if planning permission or building warrants are required:

You should also check that the installation complies with building regulations in your area:

Check your insurance policy

Check with your home insurance provider to make sure your policy covers the changes to your home and make any adjustments you need. Some policies cover the more common systems, such as solar panels.

Financial support

There are many schemes offering financial support and incentives for installing renewable heat. You may have to apply for funding before going ahead with the installation, so it’s worth checking beforehand.

If you live in Scotland, you can get grants and an optional interest-free loan for renewable heat with the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan.

After installing a renewables system

Check your MCS certificate

It’s important to ensure you receive a Commissioning Certificate from the installer after the work has been completed.

Once the renewables system has been commissioned, you should receive an MCS installation certificate from your installer. MCS requirements state that your MCS installer should have registered your system within 10 working days of the system being fully installed. Householders must use an MCS-certified installer and product for most funding schemes.


Organise a follow-up EPC

You may wish to get a follow-up Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) carried out to update the energy efficiency rating of your property.

An EPC is required if you wish to sell or rent your property, but are also required to pre-qualify for certain government financial incentive schemes for renewables systems and insulation.

If you get any energy saving measures retrofitted in your property that will not be visible, such as wall, floor or loft insulation, it is very important to keep evidence of this work. Take photos before and after installation, keep receipts of materials and builders’ invoices and building warrant plans.

If an EPC surveyor cannot visually see the measure because it’s inaccessible, they will need to see documentary evidence of the work undertaken in order to validate the EPC.

If you do not have evidence of retrofit insulation, this insulation cannot be factored into the EPC rating and will be ignored. Instead, the level of insulation will be assumed based on the building’s age. This may significantly affect the EPC energy rating and the rating may not be as high as it could be.

Claim financial support for which you applied

Check to see what paperwork is required to complete your application. Most schemes will require your MCS certification to process your claim.

Learn about your system

Make sure your installer explains how your system and its controls work before they finish, and that they hand over any manuals that come with the system.

This is a standard part of the installation process and any competent installer should be happy to take you through this.

Last updated: 6 June 2024