As talk of a climate emergency and new net zero targets hit the headlines, now is the time to get involved in Scotland’s low carbon energy transition. Community and local energy projects can help your community be more sustainable, self-sufficient and meet your energy needs in a lower carbon and often lower cost way.

Whether you’re thinking big with a community wind turbine project, looking to make your community building more efficient, or want to generate income through a shared ownership arrangement, we’ve got the funding and expertise to help you make it happen. And if you’re a rural business looking to cut your carbon footprint and your energy bills, we can help you too.

CARES funding available to make your community greener banner

What’s on offer?

The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), managed by Local Energy Scotland, is open for applications until 24th June. Specialist support and tailored funding packages are available for communities and rural businesses looking to install renewables and get local energy projects up and running, with funding options including enablement grants, innovation grants and development loans.

What can you do with it?

Well, lots of things! Projects funded by CARES in the past year include community wind and hydro projects, whole-system approaches for rural businesses to link solar generation with battery storage and electric vehicle charging, and even a church looking to become the greenest in Scotland.

One such project is Guildtown Community Hall in Perthshire.  The building is a sports and social hub for Guildtown and the surrounding rural villages, and also provides sport and recreation facilities for Guildtown Primary School.

Guildtown Community Hall in Perthshire

The first sustainable measure in the hall was a ground source heat pump installed around ten years ago, when the hall was being extended. The heat pump is linked to a solar thermal hot water system and the community also fundraised to install a large solar PV system on the roof, to provide sustainable electricity and income. The next step was taken four years ago when an electric vehicle charge point was fitted, for community members and visitors to use.

In October 2018 Guildtown Community Association was awarded £15,814 CARES funding for two powerwall batteries and control system. These allow electricity generated by the solar panels to be stored and used to power the heat pump, lighting for the community hall and the electric vehicle charger when the solar panels aren’t generating. By swapping expensive, high carbon grid electricity for self-generated solar electricity, Guildtown Community Hall is more self-sufficient and cheaper to run.

How can we help?

We can talk you through the options, help you plan your project, put you in touch with potential partners, and give you the funding to make it a reality. Interested? Get in touch with your local development officer today to start the discussion.

If you’d like to apply for this round of CARES funding, get started by filling in a project proposal form. You’ll find all the information you need about funding package on our funding webpage, including dates of the next application rounds.