CARES Funding Open for Applications

CARES funding is currently open for applications. The current window for applications for our larger grants and loans closes on 24th June. Future rounds will close in September 2019 and January 2020.

The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is delivered by Local Energy Scotland and offers a range of financial support to help you deliver local energy projects. The CARES funding streams support you from initial ideas through to construction to your project being operational.


Our team of CARES Development Officers can help you to develop your application and, if approved, they can also help you with appointing consultants or contractors. We also have a wealth of information available on the website and those interested in applying for CARES support are encouraged to read the general guidance note and the supplementary guidance for each of the funds. This contains details of the current funding themes and eligibility.


If you have an idea for a project please submit a project proposal form, or contact your local development officer if you need more support. We are happy to try to tailor support to suit your project.

How much funding is available?

The main funding streams for new applicants are:


CARES Enablement Grant – Up to £25K which can be used to fund feasibility studies for energy systems or renewable energy projects, to investigate shared ownership opportunities or to work to maximise the impact from community benefit association with renewable energy projects. Enablement grant applications are accepted throughout the year.


CARES Development Loan – Up to £150K (10% interest rate) for renewable energy projects with a reasonable chance of success. The loans can include a write-off facility that allows development risk to be mitigated by allowing the applicant to apply to change the loan to a grant, if the project is unable to progress.


CARES Innovation Grant – Up to £150K to either fund innovation activity or improve the viability of projects by grant funding elements of the project. Projects must include the installation of new locally owned renewable energy generation.

Who can apply?

CARES funding is open to community organisations, National or regional non-profit organisations with charitable aims and objectives, Faith Groups, local authorities and housing associations, and rural businesses.


What type of projects can be funded?

We’d welcome projects that support community involvement and 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 of renewable technology like solar PV and/or low carbon heat pumps.


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.


If you’d like to take action in light of the recent Climate Emergency and new net zero targets, but aren’t sure what kind of project you’d like to take forward, an options appraisal might be a good next step. We welcome applications to fund option appraisals for ambitious low carbon local energy projects that achieve 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 studies 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 centred 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.


These are examples of projects but the scheme isn’t restricted to these. You’ll find full details in the funding guidance.


We’ve also put together some themes and examples to help rural businesses access CARES funding, available here.

What are the timescales involved?

The timescales for the current funding round are shown below. There will also be a funding application deadlines on 24 September 2019 and 13 January 2020. Enablement grant applications can be made and awarded at any time – not just at a panel meeting.

Find out more & apply by 24 June: www.localenergy.scot/funding/

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