Green energy brings massive benefits for both the schools

and the environment, by cutting bills and reducing carbon


Sue Reed, Nadder Community Energy


The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) provides grants to cover feasibility studies and development costs for community renewable energy projects in rural areas.

Grants of up to £40,000 are available at the feasibility stage. Further development funding of £100,000 is on offer for projects with a high chance of success.

Applications are reviewed and grants are awarded on a monthly basis.

Unfortunately RCEF cannot be used to fund the installation of renewable energy equipment (capital grant). Please visit the Community Energy England funding page for information on capital grants currently available.


To apply, you must be planning the installation of a renewable or low carbon energy facility. Examples of technologies which may be considered for funding include:

  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)
  • AD (biogas) fuelled heat network
  • Bio liquids/gas/fuels
  • Biomass heat network
  • Heat pumps
  • Hydropower
  • Solar (photo voltaic)
  • Solar (thermal)
  • Wind turbines
  • Multi-technology approaches

See the News section for some examples of projects which have recently been awarded funding.

Energy efficiency, storage, grid services and demand management can be considered in bundled approaches on a case-by-case basis.


Funding support is available to rural community organisations in England. To check if the postcode of your project is based in a rural area use the Defra Magic Map, following the instructions in the user guide.

To find out if your organisation is eligible, and for general guidance on applying, please download the RCEF guidance note


Stage 1 – Feasibility grant

  • For communities at an early stage of exploring the possibility of a renewable energy project
  • Grants of up to a maximum of £40,000
  • Can be used for consultancy and professional costs for the development of a feasibility report in a standard format for a specific project
  • Must be early stage activities without which the installations would not be able to go ahead

Stage 2 – Full business development and planning grant

  • For projects that demonstrate a good chance of securing planning permission and being implemented
  • Grants of up to £100,000
  • Intended for more detailed investigation into the key areas of technology selection
  • Can be used for securing a site (e.g. legal fees), environmental impact assessments, submitting planning applications, permitting applications and developing a full investment business plan.
  • Cannot be used for capital investment

How to apply

You can submit a funding application at any time. Grants are reviewed and awarded on a monthly basis.