Speaking at the annual CARES Conference earlier this week, Minister for Business, Energy and Innovation Paul Wheelhouse MSP announced that the SNP Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is now open for applications.
Funding is available across three different grants and loans, with quarterly funding rounds introduced as Scotland aims to meet its 2020 target of 1 gigawatt of locally generated energy.
The CARES loan fund has been operating since 2011 and is a flagship scheme which aims to provide loans towards the high-risk, pre-planning consent stages of renewable energy projects which have significant community engagement and benefit.
There will be quarterly funding rounds with fixed timescales in which to apply. The first window opened on 18 April. The funding streams are designed to respond to the emergence of new innovative projects:
Enablement grants of up to £25,000 to help with feasibility studies for energy systems or renewable energy projects, investigation of shared ownership opportunities or work to maximise the benefit for local communities.
Development loans of up to £150,000 to fund development costs taking projects from feasibility through to procurement for a design and build contract.
An innovation fund of up to £150,000 to accelerate innovative activity, from building a business case and developing a project outline to long term development support and addressing high risk capital costs.
Mr Wheelhouse announced:
“CARES is open for business, with up to £5 million available.
"This SNP Government 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 sized businesses to deliver projects in their communities.
“CARES is a tremendous success story, and I want to ensure it continues. The move towards a more localised energy approach requires a more flexible funding package to better reflect the future needs of communities developing projects in this evolving space. I am delighted to confirm we have made some positive changes to CARES funding to ensure it is aligned with our vision for Scotland’s energy system and can support the likely diverse range of projects coming forward.”
The Local Energy Scotland team will be on hand to help applicants through the process of gaining access to relevant grants and loans.
To read more about eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit: