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Support for Renewable Energy - Non Land-Based

Option closed to new applications

Support for Renewable Energy - Non Land-Based

What is this about?

To encourage rural communities and businesses to install small scale renewable energy capacity as a way to help diversification of the rural economy and improve the quality of life for rural areas. As part of a wider programme of rural diversification measures, sharing the cost of investment in renewable energy projects, can contribute towards this aim.

What will be achieved?

  • Strengthen rural communities
  • Reduction in carbon emissions
  • Environmental improvements
  • Help towards developing a local, sustainable energy supply
  • Result in improvement in the viability of any non-land based business enterprise

What you can do?

Two distinct elements:

  1. Purchase and install a renewable energy system.
  2. If installing a biomass boiler, you can purchase supply chain or specialist equipment to harvest and process the woodchip, pellets or logs.

Who can apply?

  • Rural communities (defined as having a population of less than 3000) whose applications are not eligible under the Communities and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). CARES is the Scottish Government's primary support mechanism for community renewables installations and applicants for this option must be able to demonstrate that they have discussed their project with the local CARES Development Officer who will be able to advise on their project.
  • Rural (other than agricultural or forestry) businesses which meet the definition of a micro-enterprise (ie employing fewer than 10 people and whose turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed €2m)

Eligibility Criteria

  • To be eligible for this Option, 51% or more of the energy produced would need to be used for the business's/rural community's own consumption . Applicants will be required to demonstrate this eg by providing meter readings of power consumed or details of the amount of fuel purchased over a given period.
  • "Own consumption" means consumption by the community or business. It does not include selling electricity to the grid.
  • The ability to receive a grant for a renewable energy installation and also benefit from the feed in tariff is being phased out. You will also be unable to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive if you receive a grant for the installation - See below for more details.


What technologies and or equipment are supported?

  • Small scale wind turbines
  • Hydro-electric turbines
  • Solar panels
  • Automated woodfuel boilers
  • Heat pumps
  • Solar water heating
  • Specialist equipment for harvesting biomass, pre-use processing (e.g. dryers, chippers, pelletisers), quality assurance (e.g. for checking moisture content, chip size, etc.) and handling.
  • Supply chain equipment

Which products and installers can I use?

  • If installing a Micro renewable energy system (defined as up to 50kW electricity generating capacity or 45kW heat capacity) the product and the installer must both be accredited, under the UK wide accreditation system called the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
  • The exception to this is for hydro installers, where an accreditation scheme has not yet been established. Subject to confirming that more than one quote has been obtained, work can be carried out by local expertise under the supervision of a qualified advisor who can sign off installations to confirm that appropriate standards have been met
  • Details of installers and products can be obtained from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme website or on 020 7090 1082.
  • Independent advice on all aspects of installing renewable systems can be obtained from your local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012 or via their website at

Technical requirements for biomass installations

  • Boilers of over 50kW electricity or 45KW heat capacity will generally only be supported if they are on the Energy Technology List. This is to ensure that we are only supporting boilers of a particular standard.  If not on the list then we would seek more information on the specification to ensure the boiler meets these standards.
  • If located in a Smoke Control Area, must install an exempt appliance

What costs are supported?

  • Purchase and installation of equipment, including construction, upgrading or development of infrastructure
  • Purchase of specialist equipment for harvesting, pre-use processing, quality assurance and handling of wood fuel for the supply chain
  • Direct set up costs related to the creation of producer groups, including legal and administrative work in setting up, rental of office accommodation and purchase/rental of office and IT equipment.

Rate of support?

  • Up to 50% of eligible costs will be supported
  • In addition to the grant ceiling, the total amount of grant payable for non-agricultural, commercial activities can be limited because of rules applied in relation to State Aid.

Type of Support

  • A one-off capital payment will be made against equipment and installation of renewable energy schemes


  • All final claims must be certified by an independent accountant and must be accompanied by relevant invoices
  • You must allow any person, duly authorised, to have access to allow an inspection to take place. An inspection may take place at any reasonable time either before or after completion.
  • If applicable, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme list of registered installers will be checked
  • If applicable, the criteria set for good quality CHP Programme will be verified for compliance
  • If located in a Smoke Control Area must install an exempt appliance and this licence will be verified

Technical Guidance


Important Update on the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) and grants

The FITs scheme is intended to replace, not supplement, public grant schemes as the principal means of incentivising small scale, low-carbon electricity generation.

Until now generators have been allowed to benefit from both FITS and a grant from a public body where developments meet state aid de minimis requirements. However the UK Government has introduced changes to ensure value for money for consumers by avoiding double counting (installations that receive both grants and FITS would be getting a double benefit). It feels that if allowed to continue, the de minimis threshold would have the effect of making the combination of FITS and grants the rule rather than the exception.

Therefore the UK Government has introduced the Feed in Tariff Amendment Order 2011 which comes into effect from 30 May 2011. The Order states that the de minimis exemption will only apply where the grant has been made before 1st July 2011 for an installation that is first commissioned before 1st October 2011. All renewable installations installed and commissioned after those dates will not be able to benefit from a grant and be eligible for the Feed in Tariff. Therefore, if you decide to accept a grant, after 1st July 2011 you do so on the understanding that you will not be able to qualify for the Feed in Tariff.

This will not have any effect on installations that have already been accredited for FITS using the de minimis exemption.

Ultimately it is Ofgem who will determine whether installations are eligible for the FIT and applicants should contact Ofgem if they require further clarification on the eligibility of a proposed scheme.

Further information is available on Ofgem's website at

Eligibility for the Renewable Heat Incentive

You cannot receive a grant which contributes to the direct costs of an installation and receive the Renewable Heat Incentive. 

However,  under the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2014 that came into force on 28 May 2014 you will be given the option to pay back your grant and instead receive support under the Renewable Heat Incentive.