Government help for community renewables

Communities and rural businesses over Scotland can now apply to a £23.5 million government loan scheme to help them get community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.

The scheme is designed to make sure communities receive the maximum benefit possible from the projects it funds.

Communities and businesses have already benefited from the loans, which are designed to help small-scale projects which directly benefit their local area, and which would not proceed without the loan.

Projects all over Scotland have already received more than £4.5 million in loans including a Borders housing association scheme and a Highland charity hydro scheme.

The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) is designed to support projects before they reach planning as this stage is considered too high risk for commercial loans.

Individual projects can receive loans of up to £150,000 to cover 95% of agreed costs. Free local advice is also available.

Priority is given to projects which give the highest value of benefit to their local communities.

The scheme is open to community organisations, rural businesses and joint ventures between the two.