MCS wraps up another year at InstallerSHOW in Birmingham

MCS CEO, Ian Rippin, with trainee heat pump installers from Your Energy Your Way at InstallerSHOW 2024.

From 25-27 June, MCS exhibited at InstallerSHOW 2024, the UK’s largest event for influential installers.

The MCS team headed down to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre to spend three days meeting consumers, installers, manufacturers and trade body representatives on stand.

As the country’s largest trade show for heating, plumbing and renewable technology, InstallerSHOW is an important opportunity to bring together experts across the industry Here are some of the highlights we enjoyed from the event:

Day One – Tuesday 25 June:

As the first day began, colleagues from our Scheme, Helpdesk and Compliance teams took to our stand to answer questions about becoming certified, the launch of the new Scheme, skills and training, and much more.

In the morning, our Renewables Technical Officer, Grace Roberts, delivered the first of six ‘An MCS Update on Solar & Storage’ sessions in the Solar Innovations Zone, an innovation delivered by MCS and Solar Energy UK for a second year. Grace explained to the audience the latest data and trends for battery storage and solar PV, and how contractors can become certified to install these storage systems as well as the benefits and importance of certification.

Shortly after our Market Development Director Dan White, joined Jez Cilmas, from City Plumbing Supplies, Kathryn Dapre, Head of Sustainability at Cala Homes, and Rachel Holmes in the Housing Hub to talk about the Future Homes Standard. The Future Homes Standard aims to decarbonise new homes by focusing on improving heating, hot water systems, and reducing heat waste. This will be achieved in part by replacing current technologies with low-carbon alternatives.

Simultaneously, our CEO, Ian Rippin joined Chris Skidmore, Phillipa Forrester, and Yselkla Farmer, CEO of BEAMA, in the Elemental Arena for a panel discussion on ‘Mission Possible: What we need to reach net zero’. The panel shared their opinions on what policies and procedures need to be developed to help the UK reach the Governments target of net zero by 2050. Referring to the MCS contractor base, Ian Rippin said “Installers are ready to step up, we just need to convince consumers a heat pump is the right thing for their homes.’ The panel had a wide range of thoughts, from Yselka’s opinions on the current grant availability, saying “The grants are welcome, but we aren’t fixing the main problem. We need to rebalance electricity pricing, making a fair playing field for all income levels.”, to Chris’ take that “we need to pick a path and stick to it.”

After recently announcing the updated timeline, a huge focus for InstallerSHOW 2024 was on the redevelopment of our Scheme. Day one wrapped up with a speaker session from Ian discussing the six key changes. This was then followed by a well attended drinks reception hosted by MCS, this allowed our team to answer any queries on the changes coming to the Scheme as well as network with new and familiar faces. We received a variety of questions on the new Scheme, but a clear concern expressed was the introduction of risk-based assessments, to which Ian responded “if MCS is about anything it is about raising standards, we also want to celebrate best practice.”

Day Two – Wednesday 26 June:

On the second day, the team on stand were joined by members of the MCS Foundation, who attended to discuss the Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship. They talked with stand visitors about the programme and how they can get involved, from joining as an apprentice to becoming an employer supporting the course.

To kickstart day two, our Market Development Director Dan White joined a panel in the Get Connected Theatre. Dan discussed ‘How can we make it easier to choose heat pumps’ with Gareth Robertson from Thermly, Jane Wilson from Hildebrand, Will Rivers from The Carbon Trust, and Olly Zanetti from Nesta. The panel talked about what policy support is needed from the Government and what the industry can do to scale up from 30,000 heat pumps a year to 600,000 by 2028. Panellists came forward with multiple angles, but amongst the five panellists, it was mutually agreed familiarity and exposure to the technology will be pivotal in giving homeowners confidence that it is the right decision for their homes.

Day Three – Thursday 27 June:

On the final day of the show, as we began to wind down for the week we wrapped up with a few final panel discussions. First our Scheme Manager, Alex Hughes, joined a ‘Spotlight on Solar’ in the Get Connected Theatre with homeowner Stephen Trotter, and MCS certified installers Craig Michael Renewables.

Stephen used our Find a Contractor tool to find a business to install solar PV with battery storage on his home in Telford, and after reviewing multiple quotes and engaging in conversations with the contractors, he chose Craig Michael Renewables. Stephen and his wife have now lived with these low-carbon technologies for over a year. When asked why he chose to use an MCS certified contractor, Stephen said “For me, this was a big long-term investment and it was important for my installation to know it was being installed and the products used were to a high standard”. Alex shared that 80-90% of MCS certified battery storage installations are now going in with solar PV, it is exciting to see homeowners making the most of the electricity they are generating by storing it with battery storage. Stephen explained that 50% of his homes energy consumption over winter was self-made, even in the less sunny months. You can read more on Stephen’s installation here.

To conclude our speaker sessions for the week, Ian joined Emma Bohan, Managing Director at IMS Heat Pumps, and Si Poskett from Heat Geek, in the Heat Geek Theatre for a ‘Q&A with Ian’, covering all things new Scheme. The installers took the chance to ask Ian anything they wanted to know about the redevelopment of the Scheme, why it’s happening now and how the future of the renewables sector will be benefited. The panel gave their opinions on the upcoming changes before opening the floor to the audience for questions.

Throughout the panel, Ian emphasised ‘delivered quality’ on multiple occasions, when Si from Heat Geek asked what he meant by that, Ian responded “MCS will be prescribing what each assessment consists of, whereas now the Certification Bodies decide. We are driving for consistency, and we promise to be open about that.” At such a pivotal and critical time for our business, it is enormously beneficial for MCS to be able to meet the contractors that shape our work. To find out more about the MCS Scheme redevelopment and the six key changes, visit our dedicated Scheme Redevelopment page here.

Over the three-day show, we spoke with hundreds of installers and homeowners in unique situations. InstallerSHOW provides a unique opportunity to discuss the issues facing the renewables sector and how we can overcome them together. Thank you to everyone who came to visit us on stand, everyone who joined our discussions and to InstallerSHOW for hosting yet another fantastic event.

For more highlights from InstallerSHOW 2024, you can visit the InstallerSHOW website. Don’t forget to follow us on social media, and visit out Events Page to keep up with our busy events schedule.