Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES)

CARES stands for Community and Renewable Energy Scheme and is the Scottish Government's rebranding of the previous ScottishCommunity and Householder Renewables Initiative (SCHRI) programme.

Community Energy Scotland were awarded the contract to deliver CARES across the whole of Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government for three years from May 2009. CARES continues the support available for communities under the previous SCHRI programme and builds on this by increasing the maximum grant levels by 50%. Grants of up to £150K are now available.

CARES Grants

Through Community Energy Scotland, CARES offers grants to a range of community organisations to help with the installation of a variety of renewable energy technologies. Communities may apply for funding for technical assistance and capital grants for renewable energy equipment installation and associated costs. Under CARES there is no set grant funding. The amount of funding awarded is determined on a case by case basis.

Technical grants

Technical assistance funding is available to support non-capital projects, such as feasibility or scoping studies and capacity building within a community. The maximum grant is £15,000.

Funding is available to:

  • pay for part or all of the costs associated with feasibility studies or community consultation
  • provide support for an organisation's staff to develop a proposal
  • pay for capacity building (renewable energy awareness raising, training and skills development)
  • Capital grants contributing to the capital costs of a project. The maximum grant is £150,000.

Funding is available for:

  • the capital costs of installing renewable energy generation plant
    capital costs for supporting infrastructure, such as roads
    project management costs associated with the development and installation of generating equipment
  • the costs of the community establishing a partnership with a third party such as a developer, or setting up a new company or purchasing an equity share in an existing company
  • the costs of implementing regulatory or fiscal regulations designed to encourage renewable energy generation or use; these may include metering equipment, licences or costs of accessing Renewable Obligation Certificates.

Which organisations are eligible?

All legally constituted, non-profit distributing community organisations are eligible to apply. Such organisations may include (but are not restricted to):

  • local/national voluntary, non-profit and charitable organisations
  • local rural partnerships
  • local authorities
  • housing associations
  • Universities and schools

Consortia of non-profit distributing organisations are acceptable. Bids in which private industrial or commercial organisations collaborate as part of consortium bids with non-profit distributing bodies will also be accepted, provided that the private organisations is not the lead applicant / beneficiary and the project itself is non-profit distributing. Communities may apply for funding for technical assistance and capital grants for renewable energy equipment installation and associated costs.

If you are unsure about whether or not your organisation meets the criteria, you should contact your local Community Energy Scotland Area Team to discuss your particular situation.

Technologies eligible for funding

Technologies that are eligible for funding under CARES include (but not limited to):

  • hydro-electric (including wave and tidal)
  • wind
  • green hydrogen / fuel cells
  • geothermal
  • solar systems
  • heat pumps (ground, air and water source)
  • automated wood fuel heating systems

For further information please visit the Community Energy Scotland website.

Energy Saving Scotland Home Renewables Grants


If you own your home and want to be more self-sufficient, then a grant could help to bring your plans to life.

The Energy Saving Scotland home renewables scheme is managed by the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. Grants of 30%, up to £4,000, of the total cost of products and installation are available.

There are different types of renewable energy available, and those covered by the scheme are:

  • Wind turbines
  • Micro-hydro turbines
  • Solar water and space heating
  • Solar Photovoltaic - solar electricity
  • Ground, air and water source heat pumps
  • Wood fuel boilers and stoves (non-automated feed stoves are not covered as they are a well established technology)

Who can apply?

This grant scheme applies only to residential buildings in Scotland. You must be the owner and resident of the property, or a builder and developer applying on behalf of the future homeowner. The property must be used by you or your family as your principal private residence, or in the case of a new build it must be intended to become your principal private residence.

The grant is not available for businesses or leased properties. This includes residential properties owned by a business, or properties with a mixed residential and business use such as a Bed & Breakfast. Such businesses can apply for an interest-free small business loan from the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland.

Energy efficiency conditions

To be eligible for payment of the grant, the applicant must undertake the following energy efficiency measures where these are appropriate and practical. These measures will ensure you obtain the greatest possible advantage from the renewables system, and reduce your carbon footprint and fuel bills in the most cost effective way:

  • Loft insulation to 270mm where practical
  • Cavity wall insulation (where there are cavity walls)
  • Use low energy light bulbs in all appropriate light fittings
  • Install basic controls on your heating system, including thermostats and a programmer or timer for the property as a whole.

For further information please visit the Energy Saving Scotland website.

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Phase one of this programme provides grants for the installation of microgeneration technologies in a range of buildings that include households, community organisations, public, private and non-profit sectors.

The aims of the programme are:

  • To support a more holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions by applying a combination of both energy efficient measures and microgeneration products in a single development
  • To see emerging microgeneration technologies on a wider scale, with a focus on building integrated technologies
  • To measure trends in costs of microgeneration technologies

Grants will be provided towards the cost of installing the following:

  • Solar Photovoltaic
  • Wind Turbines
  • Small Hydro
  • Solar Thermal Hot Water
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps
  • Bio-energy
  • Renewable CHP
  • Micro-CHP
  • Fuel Cells

 To be eligible to receive a grant you must use a certified installer and a certified product.

Phase two provides grants for the installation of microgeneration technologies for public sector buildings (schools, hospitals etc) and charitable bodies.  The key objectives of this phase is to:

  • Achieve reductions in the cost of microgeneration technologies
  • Achieve greater visibility of these technologies, leading to an improved understanding by the general public as a result of their installation in a wider range of buildings.

For a phase two grant an organisation can apply for up to £1 million per site.  They are certain conditions that relate to this grant:

  • A maximum of three eligible technologies can be grant-aided at each property unless pre-agreed by BRE and BEER
  • A site may include more than one property
  • Multiple applications from one organisation for different sites may be accepted

The grant can be used for:

  • Must be used to fund the supply and installation of a renewable energy scheme at a permanent building located in the UK
  • In general, only costs directly related to the installed equipment are eligible
  • Solar Photovoltaic
  • Solar Thermal Hot Water
  • Wind Turbines
  • Heat Pumps
  • Pellet Stoves
  • Wood-Fuelled Boilers

Please note: projects where installation of microgeneration measures has already commenced are not eligible for this funding.

Grant levels for the phase two projects are in the region of 50 per cent.


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