Launched on Friday (26 October), the scheme enables small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to apply for an unsecured, interest-free loan of up to £100,000 in order to install technology such as LED lighting, low-flow taps and insulation.

Businesses which are successful in applying for one of the loans will also receive 15% cashback on the value, further incentivising them to implement measures to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions.

The incentive is open to companies from across all sectors.

“Small Scottish businesses in every sector could really benefit from simple, easy-to-install energy efficient measures,” Zero Waste Scotland’s head of business resource efficiency Marissa Lippiatt said.

“We also know that future-proofing businesses is key to minimising the stark implications of climate change.”

Scotland’s minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse added that the launch of the scheme aligns with the commitments outlined in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government and Energy Strategy, which notably includes a pledge to funnel an extra £1.5bn funding per year into renewable energy projects.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting businesses across Scotland to improve their energy and resource efficiency as we seek also to improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s non-domestic premises,” Wheelhouse said.

“The SME loan 15% cashback incentive will give Scottish businesses the opportunity to reap the benefits of reduced energy costs through investment in energy efficient measures, helping to increase competitiveness and drive growth while also reducing their carbon footprint.”

Past progress

SMEs to have bolstered their energy efficiency measures through Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland programmes were found to have saved an average of 24% – or £8,000 – on their annual energy bills.

Over the last five years, the programmes have seen around 4,000 businesses given one-to-one support to find the best energy efficiency solutions for their operations. In total, these companies have collectively saved around £36m on their energy bills.

Elsewhere, the Welsh Government last year partnered with the Carbon Trust to launch an interest-free loan scheme for businesses investing in low-carbon and energy-saving technologies such as passive heating and cooling systems, low-energy lighting and new boilers.

Under the scheme, called the Green Business Fund, SMEs are able to access energy assessments, training workshops, equipment procurement support and loans of up to £5,000.  

Sarah George

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