Approval for energy saving fund
It’s been confirmed that a £200,000 loan fund will be set up to help South Cambridgeshire’s residents, community groups and businesses become more energy efficient.
The District Council’s Cabinet yesterday (7 February) approved plans to create a Green Energy Loan Fund. This will allow householders, voluntary groups including parish councils and companies with up to 250 staff to borrow money specifically to spend on energy saving initiatives.
Residents and community groups will pay no interest on the loans. Small and medium-sized businesses will be charged interest at the same rate as offered by Government for start-up loans.
Leading Councillors are encouraging this money to go towards creative and innovative ways to reduce energy consumption and bills, such as air source heat pumps, solar panels, battery storage, electric car charging points, LED lighting, insulation or draught proofing.
It is anticipated that the fund, which will be paid for via business rates income from new renewable energy projects in South Cambridgeshire, will be set-up and launched by mid-July.
As part of the scheme, residents, community groups and businesses will be able to apply for loans from £1,000 to £10,000 per year for the next four years. Loans will be paid back over three years, so recipients can spread the cost of purchasing energy saving products.
Meanwhile, the authority’s Cabinet also approved proposals to invest further elements of the same business rates funding pot in renewable energy projects. These will aim to generate income for the Council to spend on services, and allow the authority to become more environmentally-friendly. Potential projects such as solar canopies over the car park at the authority’s Cambourne offices, and renewable energy generation schemes at the planned new Sports Pavilion and Community Centre sites at Northstowe, will now be investigated.
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Simon Edwards, said: “We know many people in South Cambridgeshire want to be greener not only to help the environment, but also to cut the amount they spend on energy bills. The cheapest unit of energy is the one you never use, so our loan scheme will make it more achievable for residents, voluntary groups and businesses to make what can be substantial changes to cut their energy use. We’ll be doing our bit by looking at ways we can be greener, and investigating renewable energy investment opportunities that are kind to the environment and raise funds to spend on vital services for residents at the same time. All this shows that we’re serious about making South Cambridgeshire an even greener place to live, work or study.”