Funding and FinanceSecuring funding or finance for a project can often be the greatest barrier to setting up a community energy project, especially for the initial planning and feasibility work.
However some banks such as the Co-operative bank are willing to lend to community energy projects and various public and private bodies award funding to support such projects.
Funding for planning and development stage work can be secured from the Community Generation Fund managed by the FSE group, for work such as feasibility, project design, environmental assessments and other planning consents and licences. This funding is only repayable if the project goes ahead.
For rural communities the newly launched Rural Communities Renewable Energy Fund has £15million available for feasibility and planning applications for renewable energy projects. For community projects in urban areas £10million is available towards the costs of feasibility and planning costs from the Urban Community Energy Fund.
Community energy projects can set themselves up as Industrial Provident Societies and raise funding through a community share offer.
Projects concentrating on energy saving measures rather than energy generation could secure funding the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), or deliver measures to households using the governments Green Deal scheme.
Savings generated through energy efficiency can also be re-invested to provide a revenue stream.
For projects centred on energy generation, funding is available once the scheme is up and running through Feed-in Tariffs for electricity, or from the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)