Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced extra cash to help householders install new green heating systems in their homes, as part of a strategy to encourage more people to generate clean green energy.
The extra £5 million will be available from August 2012 to householders as loans of up to £10,000 to fund renewable heat technology projects such as biomass boilers and heat pumps in their own homes.
The loans form part of a wider microgeneration strategy, launched by Mr Ewing, which aims to encourage people to install microgeneration technologies own homes, businesses and schools.
The strategy sets out the steps the Scottish Government will take and has taken to raise awareness of microgeneration and the financial support available to those considering it, remove barriers to uptake and simplify the planning and regulation system, and ensure there are enough people with the skills to install the equipment.
The document also outlines the financial support available to people considering microgeneration.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “In Scotland we are blessed with a wealth of natural resources which can be harnessed to power our nation, and increasingly technologies such as solar panels, heat pumps and biomass mean we can harness this energy in our own homes, schools, offices and businesses.
“The Scottish Government has the most ambitious renewable energy targets in the world, but the growth of microgeneration is not simply about meeting targets.
“This work can help contribute to Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy, it can support jobs in Scotland and create new ones, and it can help energy efficiency, reducing bills and taking more households out of fuel poverty.
“This strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s ambitions for the microgeneration sector, showcasing what’s already been achieved and the work we have done to make it easier for people all over Scotland to take the first steps to moving towards generating their own renewable energy.”
Daniel Borisewitz, Policy Manager, Scottish Renewables said: “This strategy builds on the milestone outlined in the Low Carbon Scotland report that set a target for at least 100,000 homes having adopted some form of renewable heating system by 2020.
“By boosting the Home Renewables Loan Scheme the Scottish Government has made affordable finance available to a far greater number of households. This will mean that more people can benefit from renewable heat systems and the pending domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.
“The large expansion of the domestic renewable heat sector will not only support existing jobs but will also create new positions and business opportunities across the country.”
Alan Wilson, Chair of the Scottish Energy Installers Alliance (SEIA) said: "The SEIA welcomes the publication by the Scottish Government of the Microgeneration Strategy for Scotland and of the new financial incentives that accompany it.
“Our members - the bulk of whom are the 3,500 small and medium companies that form the backbone of the Scottish Construction industry - see microgeneration as a significant new business opportunity to complement their existing skills.
“We are delighted to have been part of the stakeholder group that worked on the development of the strategy and we look forward to continuing to work with the Government on the implementation, focusing on ensuring that as many small firms as possible will be able to participate in the opportunities created."