Is an MCS-styled regulatory framework required to protect the nascent domestic battery storage market in the UK?

That was the subject of discussion during a debate held on the opening day of Solar & Storage Live, where those who worked on the formation of the Solar Trade Association’s ten storage commitments sought visitor views on how the market should be regulated as it grows.

Solarcentury’s Andrew Crossland, Rock Clean Energy founder Chris Roberts and STA policy manager Chris Hewett discussed potential self-regulation with attendees, where it was considered that the industry required something between the current free-for-all and the kind of statutory legislation seen in the gas market.

One installer in attendance suggested that an MCS-styled middle ground would be ideal. He added that the majority of installers still operating in UK solar had come to find themselves doing not insignificant quantities of reparatory work on poorly fitted PV installs. The risk, in the absence of tighter regulation, is that this could become the norm in storage as well.

Such enforced legislation, Roberts said, had the potential to hinder innovation in storage but a market free for all was considered likely to result in dangerous installations.

There have long been fears that a lack of regulation could damage the reputation of the domestic battery storage market before it has had a chance to get started. Both the IET and RECC have published new guidance for installers to follow, and the STA’s ten storage commitments look to expand on that further.

However another attendee expanded on the debate further by suggesting that regulation should also move to cover the types of battery chemistry used in devices, drawing attention to the kinds of unstable lithium ion used in the infamous exploding Samsung devices that were eventually withdrawn from the company’s product portfolio.

While there is currently no consideration for such regulation to be passed, Roberts added that it could be a debate worth having should storage become more pervasive in households.
 

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