The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) supports communities to engage with, participate in and benefit from the energy transition to net zero emissions. CARES is managed by Local Energy Scotland and offers a range of financial support to local energy projects.

We are now in our final year of the current CARES contract, and this means that we will need to bring funding streams in the current form to an end throughout the year to allow projects time to fully complete and submit their final claims before the end of February 2025.

The Scottish Government will use the final year of the contract to review the support available to communities through CARES and assess the needs of any future support.

This page outlines the funding support that is available to get your local energy project up and running, including CARES funding available now.

What can CARES support?

CARES can support a wide range of projects including installing renewable technologies in community buildings, community benefits and shared ownership – please see our guide to getting started.

CARES provides a package of support and we make it as easy as possible for you to deliver you project. For example, if you want to complete a technical feasibility study we can assign you a consultant who will complete this task for you.

In addition to the funding calls listed below, CARES supports the Scottish Government’s target to secure 2GW of community and locally owned renewable energy by 2030. Support remains available through CARES to help communities assess their priorities for net zero activity, and this can include potential opportunities for energy generation. Local Energy Scotland’s development officers are available to talk through any ideas or proposals that communities might have, in order to develop credible plans for action. They’ll also be able to advise on the different types of support available via CARES that may include feasibility and development funding.

Who is eligible for CARES funding and support?

A wide variety of community organisations and charities are eligible for CARES support.

Applicants must be constituted non-profit distributing community organisations, including organisations with charitable status, that are established and operating across a geographically defined community or faith groups.

Additional information on eligibility is set out within the project type application guidance.

Applying for CARES funding and support

If you have a clear idea of your project and think you are ready to apply for CARES funding and support, review the guidance available for the project type or speak to one of the team.

Additional funding criteria

Subsidy control

Find out more about subsidy control and how this applies to CARES funding.

Fair Work First

From 1 July 2023, the Scottish Government’s Fair Work First guidance requires all organisations that receive public sector grants to meet the Fair Work First criteria. All applicants that receive funding through the Scottish Government’s CARES must, therefore, meet the criteria that includes paying at least the real living wage and providing appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice.

Read our guidance about Fair Work First and how this applies to CARES funding.

Need help?

If you need help, this is available from your local development officer.

If you need help with an application for a shared ownership project, please contact Mark Brennan, Shared Ownership Manager.

We usually recommend that you discuss your project first with your local development officer – this is particularly important with shared ownership projects for example. For other projects such as installing renewables in community buildings, we’d encourage you to follow the provided guidance and use our example application form to complete your application.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local development officer who will be happy to help.

Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund

This fund helps communities reduce their building energy costs and carbon emissions by installing renewable technologies. Grant funding is available for up to 80% of eligible costs, up to a maximum of £80,000. This fund will close to new applications on 31 August 2024.

Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund

Community Heat Development Programme

The Community Heat Development Programme will work with eligible community organisations and groups of householders to help develop their ideas for locally-generated, low and zero carbon heat project ideas. This fund will close to new applications on 31 August 2024.

Community Heat Development Programme