Funding and support
Where can you access funding for a community energy project?
Funding and grants for environmental and community energy projects and specific community energy schemes are available from governments across the UK. Information can be found via the following links:
- UK Government funding for community energy
- Northern Ireland Government Funding Database
- Scottish Government funding and grants including the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme
- Welsh Government’s community renewable energy scheme, Local Energy/Ynni Lleol
Funding from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund could be a source of funding if your project meets the eligibility criteria.
Information on European funding can be found on the following government websites:
GRANTnet provides access to over 5,000 funding schemes that are available in the UK from European and national sources, directed at the public, private, charitable, and voluntary and community sectors.
Trusts and Foundations
There are over 4,000 independent trusts and foundations in the UK; between them they give around £3 billion each year to charities and community organisations. Most trusts and foundations work to strict criteria, so it pays to do your homework. Find out what sort of sums they give out, whether they have an interest in community energy and if they fund work in your area.
Community foundations manage funds from individuals, businesses and other donors who want to support causes in their local area. Because of their local basis, they are a good source of funding for small community organisations. There are 48 community foundations in the UK.
Big Lottery Fund
For every National Lottery ticket sold, 28p goes to good causes. That's £25m a week. The Big Lottery Fund is one of the largest sources of funding for community groups but also one of the most competitive.
Community Development Foundation
The Community Development Foundation is the leading national organisation in community development and engagement. They provide a range of grants and support to support local communities.
Changes to pre-accreditation under Feed in Tariff
In light of the government’s consultation on removing pre-accreditation under the feed-in tariff we have prepared a document to open up debate about the impact on community energy of such a change.
Other sources of finance
Borrowing money from banks may not be an option for your project, particularly in the current economic climate, but there are lenders who specialise in working with voluntary organisations and community groups who will understand your needs and should offer more favourable repayment terms. They offer a combination of loans, grants and equity finance, often accompanied by advice and logistical support.
The Finance Finder at the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) website has information on finance providers for community organisations. These include:
- Adventure Capital Fund - Loans, grants and mentoring support to promote community enterprise
- Charity Bank - Loans and guarantees of £3,000-£500,000 to organisations with social aims
- Triodos Bank - Loans and banking facilities to ethical and environmental organisations
- Finance Wales is a source of funding for renewable energy projects in Wales