Interested in locally owned renewable energy? The Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is now open for applications, with a funding pot of up to £5 million available to enable locally owned renewable energy projects. 

The scheme has helped over 200 renewable energy initiatives get up and running and since 2013 has made £35 million available to support councils, community groups, non-profit organisations and small and medium enterprises to deliver projects in their communities.

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland manager, said:

“New, innovative and smart renewable project models are evolving – and the advice, support and funding from CARES continues to adapt and remain flexible to help projects achieve their ambitions. We look forward to supporting another diverse and exciting range of projects at the second funding panel, which will enable innovative solutions to local energy needs.”

What's available?

Three funding streams have been created to respond to the emergence of new innovative projects:

  • Enablement Grants of up to £25K to help with feasibility studies for energy systems or renewable energy projects, investigation of shared ownership or community benefit 
  • Development Loans of up to £150K to fund development costs, taking projects from feasibility through to procurement for a design and build contract
  • Innovation Grants of up to £150K to accelerate innovative activity, from building a business case to long term development support

The closing date for applications to this funding round is 3 September 2018. Details of the next funding rounds are available here.

What kind of projects have been funded so far?

The first CARES funding panel met on 28 June and awarded funding to a number of innovative energy projects. This included a hydrogen scheme in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, a community wind turbine in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, and a solar PV and battery storage project by social housing provider The Wheatley Group.

The second funding round encourages applications from projects which provide a solution to a rural energy challenge. Previously CARES has funded a number of projects like this, including a support structure for a solar PV system at Comrie Croft, Perthshire which has enabled increased provision of electric vehicle charging, and a community hydro scheme in Arrochar which will generate electricty and income to be used for local regeneration projects.

We've put together some themes and examples to help rural businesses access CARES funding, available here.

How do I apply?

You'll find all the application documents and eligibility criteria here. The Local Energy Scotland team are on hand to help applicants through the process - find your local contact here.

Source: Local Energy Scotland

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