In order to progress a renewable energy project funding will be required. Funding in the initial stages may be in the form of grants whilst loans and share offers may be able to assist as the project progresses.
Grants are non-repayable sums of money that are given to organisations to carry out activities of a positive nature. Grants can enable community organisations to establish the feasibility of their renewable energy project or to purchase pieces of equipment.
There are a number of grant providers that can assist with developing and implementing a renewable energy project and there are organisations that can help your community to develop its project: (Please note that your ability to receive Feed In Tariff payments may be affected if you use grant payments to construct your renewable energy project.)
Argyll and Bute Council’s Social Enterprise Team are on hand to help. The support they offer is;
- Advice and support in setting up a social enterprise, i.e what kind of company, articles of association, need for charity test.
- Signposting to other Council depts, ie Business Gateway, Planning, Estates, Finance, Legal, Community Development.
- Bespoke funding support i.e tailored funding searches, application support.
- Web based resources to support funding applications, news and up to date information on what funders are looking for.
- Signposting and support to identify strengthening boards and training of staff/volunteers.
- Support to identify like-minded Social Enterprises that can offer independent pier support.
- Support to pull out and rationalise entrepreneurial ideas and put them in to a business or development plan.
The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scotland (CARES) scheme is delivered by Local Energy Scotland, which aims to enable community and rural business to utilise renewable energy. CARES provides a range of loan and grant schemes including CARES, Community Buildings Grant and the Infrastructure and Innovation Fund . The newest strand of CARES, the Local Energy Challenge Fund, has been created to demonstrate the value and benefit of local low carbon energy economies. As part of the CARES Toolkit offer advice on project finance and well as project planning tools. They also have a useful information page with links to other sites.
Community Energy Scotland provide independent and ongoing support for all aspects of community energy project development.
The Energy Saving Trust offer impartial advice to communities and households on how to reduce carbon emissions, use water more sustainably and save money on energy bills. As part of their "Take action" pages offer support and advice on accessing Grants and a searchable grants and discounts database.
Home Energy Scotland. can provide advice to householders who want to reduce the cost of heating their home including advice on loans available.
PlanLoCal have a funding and finance page that offers information and advice on Green Deal, Feed-in tariffs and Grants.
Resource Efficient Scotland provide advice on minimising use of energy, water, materials and waste and can also provide loans to small to medium size businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy works.
Loans and Community Shares
To develop your project and benefit from the Feed In Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive, the development phase cannot make use of grant money. This means that you will need to borrow money. This is a complex and time consuming process which will require legal representation. As well as the usual banking organisations, the Scottish Investment Bank may fund community energy projects though its Energy Investment Fund and the UK government back Green Investment Bank has a focus on renewable technology.
You may also choose to finance part of your project through a community share offer, further information is provided by Community Shares Scotland.
The District Heating Loan Fund can provide loans of up to £400,000 per project will be made available to be repaid over a period of up to 10 years. The scheme is open to local authorities, registered social landlords, small and medium sized enterprises and energy services companies.