Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland can now apply to a £23.5 million government loan scheme to help them get community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.
The scheme is designed to make sure communities all over Scotland receive the maximum benefit possible from the projects it funds.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing declared the scheme open in a speech to the Scottish Highland Renewable Energy Conference in Inverness.
Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland have already benefited from the loans, which are designed to help small-scale projects which directly benefit their local area, and which would not proceed without the loan.
Projects all over Scotland have already received more than £4.5 million in loans, including a Borders housing association which will use the proceeds to improve the houses it offers for rent, and a Highland charity which will become more financially sustainable thanks to a hydro scheme.
The Community and Renewable Energy Loan Scheme (CARES) is designed to support projects before they reach planning as this stage is considered too high risk for commercial loans.
Individual projects can receive loans of up to £150,000 to cover 95 per cent of agreed costs. Free local advice and support is also available.
Priority is given to projects which give the highest value of benefit to their local communities.
The scheme is open to community organisations, rural businesses and joint ventures between the two.
Alongside the scheme, Energy Minster Fergus Ewing updated on progress towards the community and locally owed target and launched the Community Benefit Register, designed to help communities all over Scotland maximise the rewards they receive from renewable energy developments, and a database of all community-owned energy resources in Scotland.
Energy Minster Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy. Read more...