England: Combined Grant and Loan Scheme for Rural Communities Started

Since 28 June the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) offers a combination of grants and loans to rural communities for the planning stage of renewable projects. Among solar thermal all other renewable technologies are eligible. “This investment will help kick start hundreds of clean green energy projects in rural areas across England. This new fund will give aspiring communities access to the cash they need to make this happen,” says Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker in a press release published on 28 June 2013.

Country / Region

Great Britain / Rural Communities in England

Name of programme

Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF)

Type of incentive

Combined Grant and Loan for financing steps in the development phase of projects including the following technologies

Eligible technologies

Community scale solar thermal and photovoltaics, wind turbines, micro hydropower, heat pump , biomass, bio liquids and biogas

Applicable sectors

Rural communities


Up to total Pound Stirling (GBP) 150,000 in two stages:

  • Stage 1: Will provide a grant of up to approximately GBP 20,000 to pay for an initial feasibility report
  • Stage 2: Will provide an unsecured loan of up to approximately GBP 130,000 to pay for detailed business planning and planning applications


Only proposals requiring planning permission are eligible.

Applicants for funding must form a legal entity and must be planning a renewable energy project which provides a defined benefit to the community, for example: reduced energy costs for the community and investment in community facilities.

Applicants must have a demonstrable degree of community engagement and support.

Technical requirements

No special technical requirements as the fund is not for equipment or installation

Finance provider

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Total funds

GBP 15 million

Funding source

Public funding

Effective date

28 June 2013

Expiration date

No expiration date. Programme ends when budget runs out.




Water and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) The Old Academy
21 Horse Fair, Banbury OX16 0AH
England, Great Britain
Phone: 0044/808 100 2040


Baerbel Epp

Bärbel Epp is Founder and Director of the German communication and market research agency solrico and editor-in-chief of solarthermalworld.org