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Funding is vital. You will need funding for different elements of your project: set-up funds for early engagement, development funds (such as RCEF can provide), scoping studies or professional advice, marketing and communications funds (e.g. website, social media). You may also need capital to fund development. RCEF is a critical source of funds to help you get your project off the groups covering costs such as professional expertise, legal and planning fees.




There is currently a 2-stage government grant available to support rural communities set up renewable energy projects through RCEF. You can find further details here. Read and re-read the guidance, and remember to talk to the local energy hub about any worries/queries.

The funding comes in two stages:

  • Stage 1: up to £40k for a feasibility study for a renewable energy project.

  • Stage 2: up to £100k for business model development and planning/lease schemes.

At Stage 1 we split the workload between the three members, one concentrating on energy efficiency, one undertaking desktop studies of suitable roofs for solar PV, and one reviewing the intricacies of the RCEF process. 


Solar on Schools


There is a grant available (until January 2021) for decarbonising of public buildings. Email this group for more information.  There will likely be more, as decarbonisation of the public sector is a key initiative for councils.  It can be difficult to get some schools on board – particularly at the moment with COVID. It’s worth finding contacts there, or building contacts with the teachers, the head teacher, and/or the school governors. It takes time to understanding the benefits to them, and time is something they are often pressed for.


There are numerous sources of funding for embryonic community groups, such as:

  • The Co-op

  • Co-ops UK

  • The local parish, district and county council

  • Local councillors

  • The National Lottery 

  • Esmée Fairbairn (click here)

  • Joseph Roundtree Foundation (who have funded Basingstoke Transition)

  • SSE

  • Sainsbury

  • Aviva

  • Nature Save (click here). 

  • Click here for a good website for finding grants. 

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