There are several grants that are available for funding schemes – see below for a selection. However, it is worth noting that the use of any grant that is from public money (and this includes Lottery money) which is put towards buying equipment will mean that the scheme cannot attract FITs or RHI.
Grants might be used for feasibility or supporting work without compromising FIT/RHI payments (e.g. design drawings for solar panels on a roof, or for a fish pass to go alongside a Hydro scheme).
The fund provides funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help community energy projects become investment ready. RCEF provides support in two stages:
- Stage 1 provides a grant of up to approximately £20,000 to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project.
- Stage 2 provides an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment.
Loans will need to be repaid once a project is constructed. Only locations which are classified as being rural can apply.
Created after the Rural fund above, this funding stream matches the offer of the above fund – support of up to £20,000 for early stage feasibility work together with loans to support planning applications and final business case development. This fund is for locations which are classified as being urban. The two funds together mean that communities any location in England can access some sort of community energy seed funding.
The Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation (PPCF) is a grant giving trust which support the work of UK registered charitable NGOs. Projects must be pioneering with potential to influence UK national policy.
The Shell Springboard is a Shell Social Investment Programme which awards £320,000 each year to UK based SMEs, normally in eight awards of £40,000. The programme awards the most commercially viable and innovative business ideas to reduce carbon emissions.
A Lottery grants scheme funding small, local community-based projects in the UK.
For practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. In addition to individual prizes of up to £10,000, with an overall UK Gold Award of £20,000, they make a short, broadcast-quality film about the winning work and offer winners a substantial package of benefits and support to help them grow. This fund is to celebrate and enhance groups who are already active and exemplar in some way.
Operate a number of different grant schemes, see website for details.
Previous Community Energy funds which are currently closed but may return:
The Sustainable Energy Fund has offered grants of up to £2,000 to community groups and not for profit organisations who wish to consider and implement sustainable energy projects in their buildings. The fund is not year-round – check the website for details of when it may be available again.
Similar to the above, this fund has historically offered grant support but it is not currently available. Check the website above for further details.
The electricity distribution company has offering grants from £1,000 to £10,000, as part of the Northern Powergrid Community Energy Seed Fund. The fund is intended to support to community energy projects at their inception stages. It was established by the electricity distribution company as part of its commitment to supporting and working with local communities to deliver affordable and sustainable energy solutions.