Highland UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Energy Efficiency Grant

Temporary pause to Energy Efficiency Grant scheme

Since the Digital and Energy Grants scheme was launched in November 2023, there has been a high volume of applications. Due to such a positive take up, and to ensure that the successful applications can be covered within the available budget, the scheme is currently paused, with the intention of reopening the scheme as soon as additional funding becomes available.

The Energy Efficiency Grant is a fund, introduced by Highland Council within the UKSPF Investment Plan for Highland. This will provide financial support for small enterprises to embrace net zero ambitions and to support Scotland's national net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2045. This fund will assist businesses with barriers unique to their net-zero journey.

Projects must be new spend - purchases must not be made, or committed to, prior to the grant being approved. Only one grant per business is available in order to allow fair and even distribution of funding as it is expected the fund will be competitive.

The grant is to cover 50% of eligible costs. Successful applicants will get a maximum grant of up to £15,000 (minimum £1,500, which requires eligible expenditure of £3,000) and must demonstrate one or more of the following outcomes to:

  • assist an organisation to overcome barriers in achieving emission reduction
  • implement a new business processes evidencing a clear link to emissions reductions
  • implement strategic changes identified from consultancy support
  • support a business to promote their “green credentials”
  • facilitate a business pivoting into a new market within the net zero landscape

Examples of innovations could be a move to low carbon heating systems, solar powered energy, or other measures to reduce emissions and reduce energy usage and costs.

Eligible projects

The Energy Efficiency grant can be used to support local businesses make changes to business premises and business operations to support a reduction of their Carbon Footprint from energy consumption. Actions might include:

  • changing to a low carbon heating system
  • installation of low or zero carbon energy generating technologies, such as solar PV, biomass, micro-wind, or water
  • waste reduction
  • building fabric upgrades such as insulation, energy efficient lighting, draught-proofing, double or triple glazing

We can't recommend a particular supplier however, there is a useful renewables installer finder tool on the Energy Savings Trust website.

Eligible organisations

The following is a brief summary of eligibility criteria for applicants:

  • organisations must be headquartered, located in and trading in the Highland area, from premises owned by the applicant or for which there is a legally constituted signed lease, rental, or licence agreement in place
  • trading for a minimum of 6 months - business must have been receiving sales
  • organisation must employ minimum 3 full time equivalent staff
  • the business must have a dedicated business bank account
  • the individual must be a UK resident with the right to work in the UK
  • the business must meet the definition of an independent small enterprise with under 50 employees world-wide
  • applicants must not be in any debt to the council, such as Non-Domestic business rates arrears nor should owners or directors have debt owed to The Highland Council, such as Council Tax
  • applicants should not be in bankruptcy, liquidation or a similar state
  • most industry sectors are eligible for consideration
  • community groups, not for profit organisations, voluntary or charitable organisations (except social enterprises) cannot apply for the grant.

How to apply

Make sure you have the following evidence ready:

  • proof of identity (for example: a Drivers licence, Passport, or Birth Certificate) or proof of right to live and work in the UK (this should include the terms and any restrictions on ability to establish a business)
  • proof of address (such as a Council Tax or utility bill)
  • a bank statement dated within 3 months
  • proof of your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • a quote or offer for improvement measures

Upon receipt of a complete application a Council officer will review the application against the assessment criteria and if successful, a formal offer of grant will be made.

Assessment criteria

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria, based on provided evidence:

  • the sustainability of the organisation and how the project will assist
  • baseline carbon footprint calculations
  • how the proposed investment will reduce carbon footprint and quantify this
  • full details of any proposals, such as new equipment or new processes (such as specification of new lighting, or low or zero carbon technology)
  • how this investment contributes to the organisations wider Net Zero goals and strategy
  • wider environmental or community benefits of the proposal

Claims process

Successful applicants will be required to submit evidence of all payments in relation to the project. Payments made in cash cannot be included in any claim. All grant payments will be made retrospectively, at the successful conclusion of the project phases. Where projects are not fully completed, claims will not be processed, and no grant payments will be made with funding already released due for repayment.

We anticipate a high level of interest in the fund and applications will be processed in chronological order. Please be patient - we will try and process applications as quickly as we can. This could take up to 15 working days.

If you need further advice on how to apply, please send an email to businessgrants@highland.gov.uk.

If there is particular support that you require please contact Business Gateway Highland who may be able to advise.

Guidance notes