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CARES funding available to help communities make a green recovery

Support for Scottish communities to develop renewable energy projects through Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).

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The next funding round of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewables Energy Scheme (CARES) is now open.

Communities, public sector organisations and rural businesses looking to make long-term environmental changes and play a part in the green recovery after Covid-19 are encouraged to apply.

As Scotland starts to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis, there is an opportunity to focus on a green recovery by aiding economic activity that puts tackling climate change and the ambition to reach net zero at the heart of everything we do. The support that Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) offers to rural businesses, communities and third sector organisations is an integral part of this green recovery package.

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “We will continue to support Scottish communities to develop renewable energy projects through our Community and Renewable Energy Scheme.

“I am delighted to announce that a new funding call is now open through our flagship CARES programme, with up to £4.5 million available this year. Priority will be given to community-led development and capital stage projects; off-grid communities seeking capital investment to help maintain the security of their energy supply and rural businesses seeking development support to explore their renewable options. Further information is available on the Local Energy Scotland website.”

CARES funding can be used to develop projects and to install renewable energy generation, such as solar panels on a community owned building, or support local energy projects working towards Scotland’s net zero ambition. Both urban and rural communities are encouraged to apply.

CARES funding has already supported numerous projects across Scotland. These include a community hydro scheme in Applecross, where surplus is used for the benefit of the community, and Edinburgh’s Duddingston Primary School which directs income generated from its solar panels to an Inclusion Fund that ensures pupils from all backgrounds can take part in activities. More recently, community-owned renewable projects have redirected funds to support their communities through Covid-19, showing the real benefits that locally owned renewables can have.

CARES recognises that many community organisations across Scotland are currently stretched supporting front line services and helping those at risk in their communities. There will be future CARES funding calls with similar themes, so don’t worry if the timing isn’t right for you just now.

Expressions of interest should be submitted by Wednesday 22 July. Feedback will be given, before a deadline for full applications on Wednesday 2 September.

Find out more about CARES and how to apply

Local Energy Scotland and CARES
Local Energy Scotland is a consortium made up of Energy Saving Trust, Changeworks, The Energy Agency, SCARF and The Wise Group.  We administer and manage the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES).
Local Energy Scotland helps communities and rural businesses with:
  • free advice and support to develop renewable energy schemes
  • advice on funding streams
  • support to access CARES (development and pre-planning loans)
  • support to access the Energy Investment Fund (post-consent loans).
CARES is designed to accelerate progress towards the Scottish Government’s target of 1GW of renewable energy to be locally or community owned by 2020, and to maximise the benefits to communities from commercially owned energy. This is detailed in the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy.
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