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Interest-free loans available for renewable energy in Scotland

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 March 2011 at 8:33 am

Scotland is leading the game when it comes to UK investment in renewable energy, and last Friday it demonstrated that again. Energy minister Jim Mather announced that people living north of the border can apply for interest-free loans of up to £2,000 each, to help install a range of renewable energy technologies.

Given the state of limbo that the domestic renewable heat industry finds itself in after last week's renewable heat incentive announcements, this will provide a nice little boost for those in Scotland.

The £500,000 scheme is funded from an underspend in this year's energy budget. Ironically this is only available as fewer people than expected took advantage of a previous renewable energy grant scheme, because of (you'll never guess it) delays and uncertainty about the RHI.

Of course, with tariffs levels for the renewable heat incentive still uncertain, it remains to be seen whether people will be willing to invest before they know the detail of the RHI, even with the advantage of a £2,000 loan.

The loan scheme, which will be administered by the Energy Saving Scotland, opens on 1 April 2011. Loans will be given out on a first come, first served basis. Eligible technologies include heat pumps, solar, micro-wind and biomass boilers. People who get loans should also be eligible for the feed-in tariff - but who knows whether the money will last long enough for eligibility for the RHI to be relevant! Call your local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre for more information on 0800 512 012.

I hope that this loan scheme will give a much needed boost to renewable heat, but expect that it will be snaffled at double quick time by people who want to invest in microgeneration and will get the feed-in tariff too.

Photo by Blatant News

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