Renewable and low carbon energy

Local and small-scale renewables

We have a number of initiatives designed to make it easier for businesses and communities to invest in local and small-scale renewables:

Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES)

We established our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) to encourage local and community ownership of renewable energy projects across Scotland and to help maximise the benefits of renewable energy systems, whether commercial or community owned.

CARES aims to accelerate progress towards our target of two gigawatt of renewable energy to be locally or community owned by 2030, and to assist with delivering both our Energy strategy and our Heat in buildings strategy through the provision of loan finance, grant funding and specialist advice.

CARES, which is delivered on our behalf by Local Energy Scotland, has a network of development officers across Scotland to provide free, expert and impartial advice and support to community groups, charities and other eligible organisations seeking to explore their renewable energy options.

Since 2010, CARES has provided more than £58 million in funding to applicants, and has supported more than 600 projects and provided advice to more than 900 organisations.

CARES can support a wide range of projects, including installing renewable technologies in community buildings, community benefits and shared ownership.It provides a package of support and makes it as easy as possible for applicants to deliver projects.

For more information about funding, visit the Local Energy Scotland website.

Energy Efficiency Business Support Service from Zero Waste Scotland

An free energy focused service to provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises on energy efficiency with an aim to :

  • reduce energy consumption, resulting carbon emissions and environmental impact
  • realise financial savings for organisations
  • increase economic competitiveness

The service offers specialist advice and support to businesses to implement energy efficiency measures that will reduce carbon emissions and translate to cost savings.

We are committed to supporting small and medium sized Scottish businesses to reduce energy costs for businesses. Reducing operating costs not only improves margins but can help make businesses more competitive. 

The SME Loan currently provides unsecured loans from £1,000 up to £100,000 for the installation of energy efficient measures such as heating upgrades, double glazing, insulation, lighting and many more resource-efficiency projects, including waste prevention and water conservancy.

SMEs can also apply for a 75% cashback grant of up to £10,000 towards the costs of a renewables heating system and a further 30% cashback grant up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures.

From April 2022, our new non-domestic advice service Business Energy Scotland (BES) will be delivered by Energy Saving Trust. This service will sit alongside the current Domestic Advice Service Home Energy Scotland (HES), creating a single point of initial contact for energy advice, both domestic and non-domestic.

Businesses already engaged in the programme will continue to receive the same high level of service from advisors during the transition. The SME loan fund will continue to operate and process applications received and is not directly affected by these changes.

Find more information on the Zero Waste Scotland site.

Home Energy Scotland Loan

Home Energy Scotland delivers the loan and cashback schemes of behalf of the Scottish Government. Loans are available to owner occupiers who live in their properties and to self-builders for both energy efficiency measures and renewables measures, and attract up to 40% and 75% respectively, dependent on the measures being installed. Cashback is based on total cost and capped at a maximum value.

Support is available for the following measures:

  • energy efficiency loan – solid wall insulation, warm air/electric storage heatings, gas connection, insulated doors, room-in-roof insulation/flat roof insulation and loft/floor/cavity wall insulation
  • renewables loan – wind/hydro turbines, solar photovoltaic (PV, water heating systems, heat pumps (various) and biomass boilers/stoves

The maximum funding for energy efficiency measures is £15,000 (including a maximum cashback amount of £6,000).

You can apply for up to two home renewables systems per home up to £17,500 in total, plus an energy storage system up to a maximum of £6,000. This can include up to £11,750 cashback funding (including a £500 incentive for installation of a heat meter alongside a heat pump).

Cashback is subject to availability while funds last or until the end of the financial year – whichever comes first. Funds are reserved for customers when their loan is offered.

Find more information on the Home Energy Scotland Loan on the Energy Saving Trust website, or call 0808 808 2282 (free from landlines and most mobiles).

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