Shared Ownership of Onshore Renewable Energy Developments

Guidance on good practice principles for businesss, communities, local authorities and others.


Community and Renewable Energy Scheme

Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) is delivered by Local Energy Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and provides support and advice to community groups. 

People who are bound together because of where they reside, work, visit or otherwise spend a continuous portion of their time.
A community can be a neighbourhood, town, work place, gathering place, public space or any other geographically specific place that a number of people share, have in common or visit frequently.

Community group

A “community group” may refer to any number of member-led organisation types, and may not always be formally constituted, however to be a partner in a shared ownership project, a community group will have to take on a formal structure. 

The “community” is understood to include this range of views and opinions. The “community group” is used to refer to an organisation or entity which is actively engaged in discussions with a renewable energy business and exploring the opportunity for investment.

Community Action Plan

A Plan agreed with the wider community and including details of the local community priorities for maximising the impact from community benefits packages. 

Community Benefits 

Community Benefits are voluntary provisions made by a renewable energy business to the community(ies) located near a development.

Community Council

A voluntary organisation set up by statute and run by local residents to act on behalf of their area.

Community Vehicle

The legal structure set up by the community to become involved in the project. There are a number of different legal structure to consider including development trusts, co-operatives, and community interest companies.

Energy Investment Fund (EIF)

A Scottish Government Fund delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank. EIF focuses on:

  • Increasing shared ownership of energy projects in Scotland (including community stakes in commercial developments).
  • Accelerating the development of commercial low carbon energy projects in Scotland.

Final Investment Decision (FID)

The point at which everything is in place for the project to go ahead.

Financial Close 

When all the project and financing agreements have been signed and all the required conditions contained in them have been met. It enables funds (e.g. loans, equity, grants) to start flowing so that project implementation can actually start.

Joint Venture 

A model where the community and renewable energy business create an organisation to take forward a project together. The renewable energy business may own a larger share of the joint venture company.

Local Energy Scotland 

A consortium made up of: Energy Saving Trust, Changeworks, The Energy Agency, and SCARF and, the Wise Group who administer and manage the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

Market Value 

The price of a development, calculated by the value which it could achieve on a given market. For example, once a project has achieved planning permission, its market value will normally be considerably higher than its cost value.

Material Consideration 

A factor which must be considered by the decision maker when assessing a planning application for development.

Memorandum of Understanding 

Document describing an agreement between two or more parties. This document is not legally binding, but indicates an intended common line of action.

Non-disclosure agreement

A contract by which one or more parties agree not to disclose confidential information that they have shared with each other as a necessary part of doing business together.

Partnership Portal

Is an online tool – available at portal
– where you can post and browse investment opportunities in community renewable energy projects.


Following approval of a planning application by the relevant planning authority.


In advance of submission of a planning application to the relevant planning authority.

Project Manager 

An individual or organisation appointed to coordinate a community group’s role and involvement in a project.

Shared Ownership 

Any structure which involves a community group as a financial partner benefitting over the lifetime of a renewable energy project.

Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)

A legal entity created for a limited purpose. SPVs are used for a number of purposes including the acquisition and/or financing of a project.



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