CARES is open for applications!

Speaking at the annual CARES Conference Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Energy and Innovation, has announced that the Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is now open for applications. 

Funding is available across three different grants and loans, with quarterly funding rounds introduced as Scotland aims to meet its 2020 target of 1GW of locally generated energy.

Mr Wheelhouse announced:

“CARES is open for business, with up to £5 million available.”

This Scottish Government scheme has helped over 200 renewable energy initiatives get up and running and since 2013 has made £35 million available to support councils, community groups, non-profit organisations and small and medium sized businesses to deliver projects in their communities.

Mr Wheelhouse added:

“CARES has been a real tremendous success story, and I want to ensure that it continues. The move towards a more localised energy approach requires a more flexible funding package to better reflect the future needs of communities developing projects in this evolving space. I am delighted to confirm we have made some positive changes to CARES funding to ensure it is aligned with our vision for Scotland’s energy system and can support the likely diverse range of projects coming forward.”

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland Manger, said:

“The current funding streams enable us to replicate the success of existing local energy projects as well as support new innovations that are emerging. We can now use clean electricity in our cars as well as our appliances, and there are different renewable options for heating our homes. As we look forward we expect to see more community projects adopting smart systems that balance how energy is locally generated and consumed.”

The Local Energy Scotland team will be on hand to help applicants through the process of gaining access to relevant grants and loans.

There will be quarterly funding rounds with fixed timescales in which to apply with the first window opening on 18 April. The funding streams are designed to respond to the emergence of new innovative projects:

  1. Enablement grants of up to £25k to help with feasibility studies for energy systems or renewable energy projects, investigation of shared ownership opportunities or work to maximise the benefit for local communities.
  2. Development loans of up to £150k to fund development costs taking projects from feasibility through to procurement for a design and build contract.
  3. An innovation fund of up to £150k to accelerate innovative activity, from building a business case and developing a project outline to long term development support and addressing high risk capital costs.

CARES will support funding applications for projects that:

  1. Accelerate the uptake of community and locally owned renewable energy, to meet Scotland’s 2020 1GW target.
  2. Support community involvement in smart, local energy systems.
  3. Support shared ownership projects.  Shared ownership is where a community group invests in a privately owned renewable energy project.
  4. Assist communities to maximise the impact from community benefit funds through community consultation, action planning and good governance.

For more information, visit the Funding page of our website >