Following on from our previous blog detailing Carbon Trust's Green Business Fund, we have recently become aware of other (EU-funded) free handouts for SME's looking to enhance their green credentials AND reduce their bills!
In addition to the Green Business Fund, there are currently a range of low carbon grants available across the country, funded by The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by various organisations.
One example is The Low Carbon Workspaces Project, which offers support and grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to eligible SME's (see below) in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and the Black Country to cover a third of the cost of installing LED lighting, Solar PV and/or Battery Storage (plus other technologies). LED lighting projects can have a payback of around 3 years without finance, so that falls to 2 years if someone else is covering a third of the cost.
It would seem to be an extremely favourable time for investing in low carbon technology if you're an SME, with energy prices on the rise and funding opportunities available which may not be around in future. Please get in touch if you would like to find out how your business could benefit.
Since The Low Carbon Workspaces grants are funded by the ERDF, EU rules apply, which exclude schools, colleges, social welfare institutions (nursing homes, libraries, parks etc), and companies dealing in banking, insurance or primary agricultural products from the funding. Charities may be considered, providing that over 51% of their income comes from services they provide or from products they sell.
For schools, Carbon Trust funding is available instead, which can be combined with an interest-free loan from Salix Finance to cover the full upfront cost of LED upgrades. Check out our one page factsheet on state school finance below for more details.
Carbon Trust Finance for SME's
|Finance for State Schools|
Otherwise, for businesses based in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire or the Black Country, a Low Carbon Worskpaces grant may be available, subject to the following eligibility criteria:
- SME definition Less than 250 employees, turnover less than €50m (~£48m).
- State Aid Must be eligible for State Aid but have not received over £200,000 in support over the last 3 years.
To see if your company is eligible you can fill out a quick online form on their website (or we can on your behalf).
There are other ERDF low carbon grants available outside of the regions covered by The Low Carbon Workspaces Project, listed here. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like us to find out if a grant is available for your business.
A note on Brexit...
Since the ERDF funds have already been allocated to the various organisations charged with managing and delivering the low carbon grants, the funding program is secured up until 2019 (at which point we may have the long-awaited Brexit...). Of course, the limited funds could run out before that time and so there is no time like the present to apply.
Thereafter, there is much uncertainty as to what grants will be available for low carbon technology post-Brexit. There are as yet no signs that the UK government will be as generous towards low carbon projects.