The Government has launched a £15 million fund to help rural communities across England set up their own clean energy projects.
Called the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), it is specifically targeted at helping rural communities access the money needed to carry out feasibility studies and fund the costs for planning applications.
A grant of up to £20,000 is on offer for the feasibility studies, which once completed communities can apply for a loan worth up to around £130,000 to help with project costs such as seeking planning permission and relevant environmental permits.
The cash can be used to support projects across the renewable and low carbon sector including wind, solar, biomass, heat pumps, combined heat and power plants and hyropower.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “This investment will help kick start hundreds of clean green energy projects in rural areas across England. This new fund will give aspiring communities access to the cash they need to make this happen.
“Not only can local generation bring people together, boost local economies and drive forward green growth, it can help save money on energy bills too.”
The loan is repayable to Government once projects have received the necessary private sector funding required to get them up and running. Community groups will need to pay back a set amount on top of the loan borrowed which will be rolled back into the fund to support other projects across rural England.