1. When did the Let's Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund Start?
2. When will this scheme end?
3. In total how much funding will be made available through this scheme?
4. How many applications to this scheme have been started on the CARES Portal?
5. How many of these have had a final decision?
6. What is the average time between an application being started on the CARES Portal and it being submitted for the first time?
7. What is the average time between an application being started on the CARES Portal and it being sent to the decision-making panel?
8. How many applications to this fund have been successful?
9. What is the total amount of Let's Do Net Zero Community Buildings funding allocated to date.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
Information in the following response was provided by Local Energy Scotland (LES) who administer the Community and Renewable Energy Scotland (CARES) scheme.
1. CARES first launched the Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings fund on 30 July 2021 with an application deadline of 30 September 2021. The current funding call was opened on 11 May 2022. The figures that follow represent the combined values of both these funding calls.
2. 31 March 2025
3. Scottish Government budgets are set annually, including for CARES. The budget for 2024/25 has not yet been approved by the Scottish Parliament and therefore it is not possible to confirm how much funding will be available through the Let’s Do Net Zero Community Buildings Fund for 2024/25. For details of the funding made available so far please refer to the answer to question 9.
4. Since the launch of the first call on 30 July 2021, 392 projects have expressed an interest in support from Let’s Do Net Zero Community Building fund. Of these, 194 applications have been started on the CARES project portal (as of 30 November 2023) and 198 were started prior to the CARES project portal being introduced
5. Of the absolute total of 392 projects that have expressed an interest in support from the Let’s Do Net Zero Community Building fund since 30 July 2021, 201 applications have successfully received funding to date, two were refused, and the remainder have either chosen to pause their activity on the project, are progressing but have not yet completed their application, or are facing challenges in project development. We continue to support projects before and after funding is applied for.
6. The average time taken for projects expressing an interest in community building support and submitting their application is 69 calendar days. During this period, they start to develop their project including:
- understanding energy savings, demand, and costs.
- obtaining quotes from installers for each measure funding is sought for.
- identifying risks and approach to mitigation.
- putting an operation and maintenance plan in place.
- applying for match funding if needed.
The actual time for any individual project can vary considerably as installing renewable energy in buildings requires a bespoke approach. We encourage early applications to support communities through the development steps to get their projects complete. The community buildings fund has been set up to be a rolling programme to allow installation at a time that works alongside other renovation works and to align with the building user’s needs.
7. The average time taken for projects interested in community building support from expressing interest on the CARES project portal and their applications being sent for decision is 89 calendar days.
This includes the 69 calendar days on average it takes to progress from an expression of interest to application submission. Following submission, time is taken to appraise and review each application and it is also possible the application can be returned to the applicant where additional work is required to enable a funding decision to be made.
8. Of the 392 projects that have expressed an interest in support from Let’s Do Net Zero Community Building fund since 30 July 2021, 201 have received funding to date.
Of the 194 community building projects that expressed an interest in CARES funding through the CARES project portal, 52 have progressed through various stages of project development to submitting their applications. Of these 32 have been offered a grant.
It’s important to note that CARES provide more than funding and communities are supported throughout the project development. Applicants are encouraged to apply early so that the CARES team can provide support whilst they get advice, quotes, consents, and grid connections etc. Final approval tends to follow once the applicant has firm quotes and understands the viability of the project. As with all construction projects it takes time to have completed full design, secure a contractor, apply for consents and be ready to start work.
9. The total CARES grant and loan funding offered to Let’s Do Net Zero Community Building projects from 01 August 2021 to 30 April 2022 has been £2,805,961, and the total CARES grant and loan funding offered through Let’s Do Net Zero Community Building projects from May 22- 30 Nov 2023 is £3,849,793.
Within Local Energy Scotland records, projects are tagged within the CARES project portal as ‘community building’ without distinguishing between different community building funding call periods for example they are not tagged ‘Community building Net zero Jul-Sept 21 call’ and ‘Community building net zero May 22- present call’. Therefore the £2,805,961 is the total of CARES grant and loan community building funding offers issued from the start of the last community building funding call on 30 July 2021 to the start of the current community building call in in May 2022.
The £3,849,793 is the total grant and loan funding offered for community building projects from the launch of the last community building call in May 2022 to end of November 2023. Please note that this does not include all the funding offers which issued prior to the launch of the May 2022 call. The figure will include some applications that were submitted pre-May 2023 but the portal does not split the different funding calls by period so data is based on funding offers issued May 2022 or later.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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