Getting an energy saving project up and running can be costly, so any help from grants or other sources of funding can be really helpful – but it’s not always easy to know what’s available or where to apply. You’ll find the answers to these and some of the other frequently asked questions about grants, below.
Are There Any Grants Available for Energy Projects?
Yes, there certainly are, and from a number of sources.
One of the best is the UK’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme – a government grant administered by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) – which has been specifically set up to promote energy efficiency, renewables and microgeneration.
The Carbon Emission Reduction Target can help subsidise the cost of insulation and similar projects, while the “Awards for All” – a scheme funded by the National Lottery – aims to assist a range of community activities including those which benefit the environment.
Depending where in the UK you are planning your project, there are also a number of local, regional and national grants available; the Energy Saving Trust’s online database is the best place to start searching for up to date information on these. Alternatively, your local council may be able to point you in the right direction.
What Sort of Projects are Eligible for Funding?
That really depends on the particular grant scheme.
The Low Carbon Buildings Programme, for instance will consider applications to install a wide range of microgeneration technologies, including wind turbines, small-scale hydro electric, solar (thermal and PV), ground and air source heat pumps and wood burning systems. The National Lottery’s “Awards for All” would consider a wider range of broadly “environmental” projects, but is only open to community applications; other schemes have their own criteria and requirements.
How do I go About Finding out What’s Available?
The Energy Saving Trust’s online database is probably the best source of current and up to date information on the likely grants available in your area, though it’s also worth contacting BERR directly if your project falls under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Local councils and the Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA in Scotland) can often also be good places to find information on possible sources of funding.
Are Grants Available for Private Householders?
Yes, but it depends on the individual scheme and what you are trying to do. The first phase of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, for example – which runs until 2010 – is open to private householders.
Can I Still Apply for the Clear Skies or Solar PV Funding Schemes?
No; both of these schemes have now been replaced with the Low Carbon Buildings which is administered by BERR – the DTI’s successor department.
Are There Any Pre-Conditions to Meet Before I Can Get a Grant?
This is another thing which depends on the individual scheme. The Low Carbon Buildings Programme, for instance, requires minimum energy efficiency measures to be in place before a grant can be awarded. These include loft and cavity wall insulation to the minimum currently recommended standard, extensive use of low energy light bulbs where appropriate and the provision of at least basic heating system controls.
Other grants often have their own eligibility conditions.
Can I Get a Grant if I Install the Equipment Myself?
For most sources of funding the answer is no – unless you are an accredited installer of the relevant technology. It’s obviously important to check with the awarding body if you are intending to do any, or all, of the work yourself that your application will be eligible.
Isn’t Trying to Get a Grant More Trouble Than It’s Worth?
Unfortunately it can often seem that way! There’s no getting around the fact that applying for funding does involve filling in a lot of forms, jumping through a fair number of hoops and wrestling with a good bit of red tape – and that’s after having spent goodness knows how long finding out what was available in the first place. However, you are asking for someone else’s money to pay for your project, after all!
Even the simplest and most open of grant schemes can call for a good deal of work, but in the end, if you’re successful, you’re hardly going to worry about that, now are you?