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Building News: Solar i-clip, an MCS012 test advantage

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EJOT ® The quality connection

MCS 012? Quality engineering 
the best route to quality assurance.

Story updated, April 2014

With the initial deadline for compliance with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS 012) now passed, manufacturers can perhaps be forgiven for taking a “let the dust settle” stance. However, in an open letter to stakeholders, the MCS has reluctantly extended the implementation date for MCS 012 by three months, to June 30th – siting the “small number of approved products confirmed as being certified for use”, and “uncertainty over the timing for completion of testing".

The regulation of any relatively new or developing market sector is never going to be straightforward and it has to be recognised that the process for the MCS and for the industry is going to be to some extent, ongoing. Indeed the consultative process has now been extended to involve many of the industry’s key players – including OEMs like ourselves. The same letter is nonetheless adamant that the new deadline is final and will not be extended again.

EJOT UK Regional Sales Manager Ben Gallant explained:
"MCS is designed to be an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme, supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. MCS certifies microgeneration products and installation practices; pitched roof mounting systems, solar PV and thermal are a few technologies covered. The scheme is also linked to the Government’s finance schemes, so for consumers to access the Feed-InTariff, both the installed product and the installation company must be MCS certified .
"Our interest focuses on ramifications there may be for our range of solar fastening products - in particular, the domestic Solar i-clip. At the time that the original compliance deadline was set, the i-clip prototype was in development. The ‘EJOT way’ has always been to anticipate legislation, but it was unclear whether MCS would certify individual components or the collective system being installed. By working alongside a UK-based OEM, the R&D objective for i-clip became simply to engineer the highest possible quality into the product and cover all bases - which included consultative testing at BRE as far back as the summer of 2011".

Solar i-clip was developed to address issues where continental systems met UK domestic roof types head on –  our home grown rafters being considerably narrower. Add the unpredictability of modifications to roof structures - variation in tile type etc – and the product’s modular design became a prerequisite. This meant any risk of installers having to ‘make do and mend’ would be virtually eliminated. BRE testing needed to focus on strength of fix and i-clip’s ability to resist wind uplift. Key to this is a stainless steel variant of EJOT’s A2 austenitic stainless steel self-drilling fastener, adapted to create the strongest fix into narrow 35mm British roof trusses.

MCS serves a very necessary purpose and whatever the evolution of the scheme, EJOT's policy of ‘anticipate to surpass’ has been fully vindicated.
If the scheme’s remit will be to certify the individual component we have a product that is BRE tested for wind uplift - and manufactured from high quality steel so fire issues do not apply. There are several flashings that are MCS012 accredited now – so water ingress is not an issue.
If the remit is 'system compliance' then designers and integrators have a single component that can potentially be tested with all main tile types saving time and money!

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We have produced three short videos, each demonstrating the simplicity of Solar i-clip's modular design. Follow the link below.

Useful websites

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme is an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme. The MCS website explains how the new 'standards' will work and provides many useful downloads. Follow the link below.

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EJOT® - The Quality Connection - This statement captures the Group's ethos. On one hand, it reflects the uncompromising efforts made to achieve the highest possible levels of product quality. On the other hand, it underlines that, technical standards aside, the human aspect both inside and outside the company are just as important. Just one reason they call EJOT® the quality connection.