Carbon Trust offers soft loans for efficiency overhaul

The Carbon Trust is offering expert guidance and £100m in interest-free loans to companies prepared to do away with old, power-hungry equipment and replace it with modern energy-efficient equivalents.

The Big Business Refit scrappage scheme, fronted by Theo Paphitis, is offering SMEs up to £400,000 each in unsecured, interest-free loans to replace ageing machinery.

At a time when banks are tightening the purse strings, the accessible capital can be mana from heaven for businesses keen to cut costs and improve infrastructure.

The repayments are scaled to match the predicted savings from the energy bill, so the up-front costs for the companies taking advantage of the offer are minimal.

This week edie visited Stewart Company, a manufacturer in Croydon that is the first firm to take advantage of the full £400,000 loan available to each outfit.

Lee Mowle, the company's managing director, told edie: "We save slightly more on a monthly basis than we actually have to pay back with the loan, so we're cash positive throughout."

He said that while the zero-interest aspect was of course attractive, with the base rate at 0.5% it wasn't the primary incentive to apply for the Carbon Trust loan.

The true advantage, he said, was that it presented an alternative cash stream to the banks.

"The process was very quick, we did it online and I was staggered that we got a response within 24 hours and formal confirmation probably 24 hours after that," he said.

"One of the beauties with the scheme is that the money is so quickly available at the same time as the banks have gone through a very difficult period and there's a lack of funding from them."

Hugh Jones, the Carbon Trust's director of solutions, explains the scheme in the clip below.

For more information on the loans, visit the carbon trust website

Sam Bond



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