The Scottish Government's CARES innovation grant provides funding of up to £150,000 and has been designed to:
- improve the viability of larger CARES capital projects by grant funding elements of the renewable/local energy system project, or
- fund local energy system innovation activity, or
- support the replication of CARES innovation projects that have worked well.
The CARES innovation grant seeks to support organisations taking forward innovative local energy projects aligned with CARES objectives, and wherever possible for this innovation to lead to significant benefits through learning outcomes. It is a grant scheme specifically to support projects or pilots of new approaches and actions, demonstrator projects and those that innovate to overcome common challenges where local ownership, community involvement and/or community benefits are at the heart of the projects developed. The overall aim of this fund is to stimulate innovative approaches to unlock potential for local energy projects with a strong focus on community scale solutions.
You can download the application form here.
You can find out about the application deadlines here ->
What type of projects can be funded?
We’d welcome projects that support local and community involvement in local energy systems that lead to new installations of locally owned renewable energy generation and local energy systems. This could be funding energy storage e.g. batteries and innovative controls to enable the installation renewable energy e.g. solar PV and/or low carbon heat.
Many of the projects funded at the 2018 CARES panels looked to combine solar power, battery storage and electric vehicle charging. We’ve got a step-by-step guide to support projects looking to replicate this model to benefit from cheaper, greener electricity. This is a great option for community buildings or rural businesses. For inspiration, check out the new Guildtown Community Hall case study.
If you are not sure what you want to do but in the light of the recent Climate Emergency and new net zero targets you want to take action, an options appraisal might be a good next step. We’d welcome applications to fund option appraisals for ambitious low carbon local energy projects that achieve significant carbon savings. Optional appraisal projects must include low carbon heat and support will be provided to help you to commission and complete these studies. It’s important not to be set on a particular outcome or technology for these appraisals but you will need to have an idea of some of the possible options for investigation and you must have significant drive to take a project forward.
Exemplar projects that address power, heat and transport will also be important to show other communities what can be achieved. One example is in Shetland, wind turbines are used to charge a community mini bus and provide heat and hot water to local buildings including the local school. Find out more about this inspiring project here.
Communities with experience in community energy projects may wish to bring forward new projects centered on the significant changes to our energy system and innovations that deliver local benefit whilst supporting the local electricity network during the transition to Distribution System Operator. Projects which make the most of these changes and innovations will be important to allow others to learn.
We've put together some themes and examples to help rural businesses here.
Applicants should discuss any potential project proposals with the local CARES Development Officer and ensure interest is registered as early as possible.