Rural Community Energy Fund

A £15 million programme funded by Defra and DBEIS supporting rural communities to develop renewable energy projects (including solar PV, solar thermal, wind turbines, CHP, ground-and air-source heat pumps).

The fund provides funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready, generally in two stages: 1) a grant of up to approximately £20,000 to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project; 2) an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment.

RCEF is available to rural communities in England that represent a rural community of fewer than 10,000 residents, or more than 10,000 residents but in a local authority area defined as ‘predominantly rural’ by the ONS.

The community must also form a legal entity in order to receive the funds and be able to demonstrate the support of the wider community.

Note: the fund is not designed for single building installations (even if these are community buildings). The scale of the project should be such that it requires planning permission – i.e. this is suitable for arts organisations looking to be involved with a larger community energy project.

Amount: Generally up to £150,000

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