Smart green energy

Improving consumer protection and industry quality across the UK’s solar power sector

The UK’s domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) sector has grown rapidly during the past decade, but the ongoing performance of domestic installations is is difficult to quantify.

Since 2017, we have worked with the UK PV industry standards body, MCS certified as well as the leading solar trade association, Solar Energy UK, and their members to apply our modelling and simulation research to support the development of new PV standards, consumer codes, industry services and policy recommendations.


Our impact

Supporting the UK Government’s net-zero CO2 target

  • Our research underpins guidance that applies to more than 1,100 certified PV installers across the UK – the MCS Guidance Note (MGD 003 - 2019) and Battery Storage Standard (MIS 3012 - 2020).

Evidencing the value of Smart Homes

  • We defined the benefits of Smart Homes for consumers and their whole-system value.
  • Our findings were fed into the Government’s and Ofgem’s regulatory and policy initiatives including the Smart Systems Forum, and the Targeted Charging Review on Future Charging.
  • The Report's findings are being used to influence the future policy of householder roles in a smart energy system as outlined in the Government's White Paper.

Commercial adoption

  • iChoosr’s on-line calculator – informed by our research – is helping local authorities across the UK to deliver their PV programmes, and is now being developed to support solar group purchase roll-outs.

The research

Launched in 1993, the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) has established an international reputation for research in PV technology – accelerating innovation across the industry and a research-led approach to improving best practice and policy making.

Our research is underpinned by an open-source tool used worldwide that analyses how household occupancy and behaviour impact domestic electricity demand.

We have also resolved long-standing uncertainties around how much domestic PV generated energy is self-consumed rather than exported to the grid.

The most recent strand of our research has provided new insights into the benefits of combining PV with battery systems – including on financial returns, CO2 reduction and fuel poverty levels across the UK.

Our work was central to the development of the UK National Standard and Guidelines for Domestic Photovoltaic Installations – underpinned by our ongoing collaborations with stakeholders across the PV sector.

The new standard and guidance are fundamental to our ability to create consumer confidence in renewable technologies and also for their wide-scale adoption in the UK. It is, therefore, key to achieving the legal target of achieving net zero carbon by 2050, if not sooner.

Ian Rippin CEO - Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Trust

Research funders

  • MCS Charitable Foundation
  • Larkfleet Homes
  • Solar Energy UK

Development partners

  • Solar Energy UK
  • Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Trust
  • Larkfleet Homes
  • Advance Further Energy
  • BRE Solar

Meet the experts

Dr Ian Richardson

Former Research Associate

Currently, with data science specialists Tessella

Photograph of Paul Rowley

Dr Paul Rowley

Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy Systems - Retired