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Community energy grants

Not-for-profit groups can apply for grants of up to £1 million towards the cost of installing renewable energy systems for generating electricity. Technologies like biomass, solar panels and wind turbines are becoming increasingly popular. These effective alternatives to fossil fuels can help reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills.

What is microgeneration?

Microgeneration is a term used to describe the generation of low carbon heat and power by individuals, businesses and communities to meet their own needs. It covers a range of technologies like wind, solar and hydro power.

The microgeneration grant

Grants for the installation of microgeneration technologies are available to public sector buildings (including schools, hospitals, housing associations and local authorities) and charities. The grants cover a proportion (up to 50 per cent) of the cost of installing the technologies, and you can claim up to £1 million per site.

Grants are provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). They are delivered through the Building Research Establishment as part of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 (LCBP2).

How much are the grants?

Grant levels for the not-for-profit sector vary according to technology and are applied to total installation costs (excluding VAT) as follows:

Technology Percentage
Biomass 35 per cent
Ground source heat pumps 35 per cent
Solar photovoltaics 50 per cent
Solar thermal 30 per cent 
Wind turbines 30 per cent

Organisations can apply for a maximum of £1 million per site. A site may include more than one property and a maximum of three eligible technologies may be grant-assisted at each property. One organisation can make multiple applications for different sites.

The technology must be supplied and installed by LCBP2 approved framework suppliers.

How to apply for a grant

The grants are available through the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. You can either download the application form and guidance notes from their website or apply online.

Other grants for microgeneration

Groups that generate energy can also access other rewards for doing so:

  • you can receive Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), or other green energy certificates, which entitle you to money for generating energy
  • you may be able to claim other grants and should contact your local council or Regional Development Agency
  • ask your electricity supplier for information on selling surplus electricity to the national grid
  • some banks and other organisations are offering ‘green loans’ to help with installation costs

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