Spotlight on: Funding your net zero strategy
9th August 2022
In this ‘Spotlight On’ article as part of the Climate Action Programme, Simon Pyne, founder of Greener Energy Futures, gives some pointers on securing funding for your organisation’s energy saving measures.
Why investing in energy-saving now makes sense
In the face of economic pressures, reducing emissions may seem like a low priority, however there are several reasons why reducing emissions could make immediate sense:
- Energy prices are at all-time highs and expected to stay for some years; most organisations we know of are facing 200%, 300%, or larger increases in cost on new energy contracts. Whilst this is alarming, it does make investing in energy-saving one of the best things you can do now to avoid costs. For example, expect an investment in LED lighting or solar panels to pay for itself in under 3 years and make meaningful dents in your bills right away.
- The impacts of the climate crisis are becoming more immediate and local; pursuing ways to reduce your carbon emissions can lead to happier staff, loyal customers and being able to win new contracts.
- Compliance – the Government has already implemented many policies requiring organisations to measure and reduce their energy and carbon. Amongst these are:
- Cabinet Office Net Zero – net zero requirements for selling to the public sector
- ESOS & SECR – carbon reporting standards for large organisations
- Climate Change Agreements – energy reduction for manufacturers
- Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – minimum thermal performance for letting buildings
But I can’t afford the cost of energy-saving measures…
Fortunately, a number of options exist to help organisations get the capital they need to invest in energy-saving measures:
Getting a grant
Grants tend to apply to specific organisation types for specific purposes; usually they are competitive and so you should be prepared to put some effort into describing and evidencing the costs and benefits of your project.
Local Authority Grants:
- For low-carbon transport:
- For SMEs or community organisations wanting to reduce their environmental impact:
Central Government Grants:
- Upgrading to low-carbon heating from gas/oil boilers
- Large-scale capital investment in public sector buildings
- Innovation funding for novel energy efficiency projects
Independent Grant Schemes for community-focused organisations:
Entering into an agreement to buy/sell energy supplied from your site
Where you install a measure on your property whose outputs can be sold to the market, like solar panels, a battery storage system, or electric vehicle charging, sometimes the equipment installer or provider can enter into an agreement with you where they fund the capital expense and your organisation shares some of the benefits of the asset.
This might mean for example that a solar company puts an array on your roof without charge and sells you the energy it generates at a lower rate than you have to buy from the electricity grid; or for an electric vehicle charging point, that you host the infrastructure and take a cut of the earnings when people charge their cars there.
Many energy-saving measures benefit from capital allowances for energy-saving measures, through which you can offset the costs through the tax mechanism. Whilst this won’t pay for measures by itself, it should help make them more affordable.
And of course, there’s always the option of securing finance to pay for measures through standard channels, for which you may find some of the measures recover their investments far faster than they accrue interest, and hence make good choices.
Need more advice?
If you’d like to understand what carbon-saving measures could work for your organisation, or want to plan for net zero, Greener Energy Futures have helped organisations like Avon Fire & Rescue, Experian, RedRock Consulting and St Monica’s Trust identify and fund £4m of carbon-saving plans over the last 2 years. Please do get in touch!