Scottish community halls, churches, schools and sports clubs benefit from solar funds

ScottishPower’s electricity distribution business has unveiled £380,000 of backing to help install solar panels on community facilities across Scotland.

SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund is providing the support to 14 organisations to install generation projects on the roofs of community halls, churches, schools and sports clubs.

SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund is providing the support to 14 organisations to install generation projects on the roofs of community halls, churches, schools and sports clubs.

The projects total more than 200 kilowatts of capacity which will generate renewable energy to power the facilities. Communities will also be able to earn money from surplus energy generated, allowing reinvestment into their local areas.

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SP Energy Networks’ £20 million Green Economy Fund aims to support Scotland’s mission to become the UK’s first net zero emissions country by 2045 and to boost local economic growth and improve air quality across the country.

Cash under the latest funding round was allocated by Local Energy Scotland to organisations including Action Porty and Duddingston primary school in Edinburgh, the Linlithgow Community Development Trust and the Braehead, Broomridge & District Community Development Trust in Stirling.

Craig Arthur, director at SP Energy Networks, said: “Projects like these are exactly what’s needed as we start the journey towards a green recovery and support our local communities on the route to net zero. When local communities can produce their own renewable energy, it empowers people to tackle climate change at a local level.”

Although applications for funding under the Green Economy Fund are now closed, other community groups can still apply for similar funding and support through the current round of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). Eligible groups need to submit expressions of interest by 22 July.

Local Energy Scotland is a non-profit consortium made up of Energy Saving Trust, Changeworks, The Energy Agency, SCARF and The Wise Group.

It has helped more than 200 renewable energy initiatives get up and running, and since 2013 has made more than £35m available to support councils, community groups, non-profit organisations and small and medium enterprises to deliver projects.

Last month the Scottish Government announced additional funding of £5.5m is being made available for renewables projects to contribute towards a green recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

Communities will be able to bid for a share of £4.5m through CARES with a further £1m being made available through the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP).

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