What is our Community Energy fund?
The Community Energy Fund was developed in conjunction with Big Lottery and Community Energy Wales to provide the financial support required to advance community energy projects from initial feasibility through to installation.
Community energy has great potential to boost the sustainability of communities in Wales. Though the level of Feed In Tariffs (FITs) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has diminished markedly in the last year, community energy projects remain viable. We have two loan types available to support project development and installation.
Community energy projects can be challenging. Our loan funds have been designed in such a way as to offer assistance at every step. Contact us to learn more about how we can help – whatever the size or nature of your project.
Our Development Loans provide financial and professional support for the high risk phase of investigating the viability of a renewable energy project before planning permission can be secured. It is designed to take the risk out of developing a scheme, by operating on a no win no fee basis. The money we invest in your community energy project is only paid back when you raise the capital to install it. If the project does not go ahead, we absorb the loss. We call this solidarity finance – where successful schemes contribute to covering the costs of those that fail.
What We Offer
Up to £90,000 available
Support for pre-installation costs
Simple fee structures
No fee payable if project doesn’t progress
Our Installation Loans are designed to cover some, or all, of the installation costs of community energy projects in Wales. This could be a large wind turbine, or solar panels on the roof of a community centre, or simply a small loan to change all the lighting in you village hall to LEDs.
Each application is assessed upon its merits. We look at the level of risk on the loan, the length of payback on the installation and the affordability to the application. Our assessment includes payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed In Tariffs and any savings or additional income generation the community can make as a result of the loan.
What We Offer
Simple application process
Support for installation costs of schemes
Between 6% – 10% fixed APR
Ideal bridging finance solution ahead of community share offers
Frequently Asked Questions
How can my community group apply for a loan?
Application for loans is a two stage process.
The Stage One application form is designed to give us enough information to carry out an initial assessment of the viability of your community energy project. If that assessment is favourable, we will contact you to seek further information.
How are applications for funding assessed?
The assessment of applications is done by our Fund Managers, and by an independent assessment panel made up of directors of Community Energy Wales and other professionals in the community energy sector.
We endeavour to process all applications swiftly, though the timescale will be dependent upon the complexity of your project and the availability of the information we need to be able to assess it.
What happens if our application is unsuccessful?
If our initial assessment of your project is unfavourable, we will provide you with feedback in order to help you improve the application or address areas where we feel your project is lacking.
We work with a wide range of partners and individuals within the community energy sector in Wales and will make sure that you are referred to people who can help you develop your scheme.
How are development loans paid?
Our Fund Managers will apply the loan in direct payment for pieces of work that are required to advance your project to installation. As each piece of work is completed, we will re-assess the viability of your project and discuss our assessment with you before additional pieces of work are commissioned.
How much will the loan cost?
We aim to keep this down to 6% APR where possible. This is dependent on risk factors that our due diligence/loans panel identify. One of our roles is to ensure that the project is viable and likely to have a successful share offer. We are always highly supportive and understand the community energy sector and its many challenges.
How much money can we borrow towards the costs of our scheme?
ROCBF has lent sums ranging from £100,000 to £500,000, for purposes ranging from initial feasibility studies and licence acquisition through to development or installation. We need to work with you to analyse what your project needs from us.
How much paperwork will there be?
Our application assessment process uses documentation that you will already have developed to tell us about the viability of your project, and your capacity to install and manage your scheme long term.
If your application is successful, your group will be asked to enter into a legally binding loan contract. In the case of installation loans, we may also seek to take out security against the asset you will be installing.
In all our loans we endeavour to make our due diligence procedures as ‘light touch’ as possible.