Rural Community Energy Fund

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While the Rural Community Energy Fund is now closed with no further funding rounds expected, the Hub continues to be responsible for the delivery of projects funded by RCEF.

This £10 million government programme supported rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects with community benefit.

The scheme funded feasibility studies for eligible groups that were in the early stages of exploring the technical and economic viability of a renewable generation project. These projects received up to £40,000 to carry out early feasibility work.

Further grants of up to £100,000 were available for projects that had demonstrated good development potential, to support the more detailed investigation of key aspects including technical design, planning application and business planning.

Photograph of a community energy group

In the South West, more than £1.7 million was allocated to 37 feasibility and 8 development projects. Successful projects include:

  1. Devon Energy Collective, Clayworks Community Wind: Project looking at the viability of a large scale, community owned wind farm of up to 65MW in South Devon.
  2. Dorset Community Energy, Bridport Energy Local: Feasibility, development and business plan work for a 250KW PV project looking at selling lower cost renewable electricity directly to local consumers.
  3. Harberton and Harbertonford Community Land Trust Microgrid: Feasibility and business planning for an eco-home development with a 40kW PV array installed in a micro-grid configuration.
  4. Marshfield Community Land Trust, Marshfield PV: Feasibility of a 5MW community owned solar development in the village of Marshfield.
  5. Nadder Community Energy, Renewable Heating for schools: Exploring the suitability of renewable heat technologies in rural schools.
  6. Plymouth Energy Community, Chelson Meadow PV: Feasibility and development work for a 13MW solar array on an old landfill site, in collaboration with the local authority.
  7. Totnes Renewable Energy Society, Clay Park Microgrid: Feasibility and early development work for a sustainable social housing development with a PV array, air source heat pumps, and a microgrid configuration.
  8. Wadebridge Renewable Energy Nework, Energy Equality: Investigating new rooftop solar installations on community buildings and a peer-to-peer energy trading mechanism.
  9. Wight Community Access, Hero 4 Zero: Feasibility and development work for a PV and battery development to charge the local community minibus fleet on the Isle of Wight.
  10. Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy, Petersfinger Farm Community Solar: Feasibility, development and business planning for a 2MW PV array generating a local income for the community using a private wire business model.