How To: Install micro wind turbines and solar panels

£25 million in grants issued for micro wind turbines and solar panels

Small scale renewable energy grants worth some £25 million have now been claimed from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP). The news came as Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks called for more homes and business to follow his lead by adopting a ‘go green’ new year’s resolution.

His call comes as more and more homes, schools and businesses have been helped with Government grants to install technologies such as solar panels, biomass boilers and ground-source heat pumps.

Grants claimed under BERR’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme since it launched in April 2006 are up to approximately £25 million:

* £7.5 million to help 4,600 households generate their own clean and green energy.

* £18 million for a total of 739 projects on school, community, housing association and business buildings.

Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: “It’s vital that recent efforts by world governments to reach a deal on cutting global carbon emissions are matched by action by each and every one of us. Deciding to go green and generate your own clean energy is one of the most valuable New Year’s resolutions you can make. It is certainly my intention to make a difference, and make my own house more energy efficient and install clean and green electricity.

“There are still grants available to householders who want to follow in the footsteps of the thousands across the UK who have been helped by the Government to fit microgeneration technology at their homes. Many schools have benefited also and the pupils there have been able to see renewable energy in action and understand more about its important benefits.”

There are still £11m in grants available under Phase 1 for householders who want to generate renewable energy at home. Schools, charitable bodies and other public sector organisations can apply for a share of the £44m that remains from the original £50m set aside for them under Phase 2.

It has also been another year of progress for the wider renewable sector.

* Consent for eight major renewables projects, including the world’s largest biomass plant in Port Talbot; the innovative Wave Hub project off the Cornish coast; the 66MW Fullabrook Down wind farm in Devon and a 450MW offshore wind farm at Walney in the Irish Sea.

* Announcement by Energy Secretary John Hutton of plans for a massive expansion in offshore wind power. The vast bulk of the seas around the UK are to be covered by a new Strategic Environmental Assessment, opening up the possibility of enough offshore wind to power all of the UK’s homes.

* The announcement by John Hutton of a feasibility study into the possibility of clean energy generation in the Severn Barrage that could generate up to 5% of the UK’s future electricity.

In 2008 the momentum will be maintained with the introduction of legislation that will aim to ‘band’ the Renewables Obligation to bring on more support for less developed renewables technologies such as wave, tidal and offshore wind.


For more information on the Low Carbon Buildings Programme and to apply for grants click here: 

Some successful applicant case studies:

Christ Church Chislehurst, Kent

Michael Milton Church Warden.

Grant £10k of £51k system cost

6 boreholes; 34kw ground source heat pump system

The ground source heat pumps will heat the new community building which will be linked to both the church and the refurbished church hall. The church grounds were used for the installation of boreholes and the the new extension incorporated underfloor heating. With the availability of a grant to partially fund the installation, this form of technology also offers a realistic payback period, which off-sets the need to raise additional funds by private individual donations.

Bute Cottage Nursery School, Penarth.

Cery Hoffrock, Headteacher

£1.7k of £3.5k system cost

Education of 3 to 5 year olds, community learning for a catchment that includes the whole of Penarth. 80 children are on roll and these children are replaced by 80 new ones each year. The nursery school is committed to conservation & recycling and engages & educates the wider community in joining with it to ensure that it continues to be recognised as an International Green Flag Eco-School.

Runshaw College, Leyland, Lancs

Grant £27k of £54k system cost

11kWp Solar PV system

Further education college, electricity for sports hall, fitness suite, indoor and outdoor changing facilities. Analysis ruled out wind power. The visual presence of Solar PV coupled with the active system monitoring from an educational point of view, the long life of the technology and the opportunity to claim renewable obligation certificates and rewards for any export payments all underlined Solar PV as the right choice.

Fulston Manor School, Kent

Clive Johnson, Headmaster

Grant £10k of £20k system cost

4kWp Solar PV system

Tia Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue, Halifax, Yorks

Jean Burchell

6kW Proven Wind Turbine

Grant £10k of £21k system cost

As the Charity’s name suggests the objects are to provide refuge and veterinary care for dogs in need – in particular Greyhounds and Lurchers. The wind turbine will power the farmhouse which is the charity’s headquarters incorporating living accommodation for the on-site Trustee, office space and housing for older/sick dogs as well as the kennel block housing in the region of 80 dogs at any one time.


If you have a question that’s not listed below you can post a new one on the Energy Saving Trust’s frequently asked questions database, click here to go to this database.

A.) What levels of grants will be available?
The current grant levels are as follows and we will regularly review them as the market for each technology develops:

 Technology  Maximum Amount of Grant
 Solar photovoltaics Maximum of £2,000 per kW of installed capacity, subject to an overall maximum of £2,500 or 50% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower
 Wind turbines Maximum of £1,000 per kW of installed capacity, subject to an overall maximum of £2,500 or 30% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower
 Small hydro Maximum of £1,000 per kW of installed capacity, subject to an overall maximum of £2,500 or 30% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower
Solar thermal hot water Overall maximum of £400 or 30% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower
Ground source heat pumps Overall maximum of £1,200 or 30% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower
Automated wood pellet fed room heaters/stoves Overall maximum of £600 or 20% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower
Wood fuelled boiler systems Overall maximum of £1,500 or 30% of the relevant eligible costs, whichever is the lower

B.) Who can apply for a grant?
Individual property owners including private householders can apply for grants from the programme.

C.) How will the application process work?
Applications are accepted on a rolling first-come-first-served basis.
An outline of the process is as follows:

  1. Complete the energy efficiency measures required by the programme, obtain planning permission for your installation if necessary and obtain a quote from an accredited installer. 
  2. Make an application online. 
  3. After receiving a grant offer letter via email, order the equipment and begin installing the technology. The grant validity period varies by technology. See D.) below for more details.
  4. After you have completed the installation and you have paid the installer, you can submit the claim documents to the Energy Saving Trust.
  5. The grant claim is checked and, if in order, the grant will be issued within 25 working days of receipt of all the documentation.

Applications can be received from properties located within England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland (excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

Please note: you should wait until you have received a grant offer letter before commencing the installation.

D.) How long will my grant be valid for?
Grant validity periods vary by technology.

Installations on existing buildings:

  • Solar Thermal Hot Water — 3 months
  • Solar PV — 4 months
  • Wind Turbines — 4 months
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps — 6 months
  • Wood Fuelled Boilers — 6 months
  • Pellet Stoves — 6 months
  • Small Scale Hydro — 12 months

Installations on buildings under construction:

  • Solar Thermal Hot Water — 6 months
  • Solar PV — 6 months
  • Wind Turbines — 6 months
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps — 6 months
  • Wood Fuelled Boilers — 6 months
  • Pellet Stoves — 6 months
  • Small Scale Hydro — 12 months

E.) How long will it take to receive my grant payment?
We aim to process grant claims within 25 working days of receipt of full claim documents. Currently our grant processing time is 22 working days as of 7th January 2008.

F.) Is there any guidance available for the online application system?
Yes, please read the following guidance notes

G.) What are the required energy efficiency measures?
You must undertake a number of energy efficiency measures before you are eligible to apply for a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. These measures will ensure that you are minimising your energy requirements. Before applying we require you to have:

a. insulated the whole of the loft of the property to meet current building regulations e.g. 270mm of mineral wool loft insulation or suitable alternative
b. installed cavity wall insulation (if you have cavity walls)
c. fitted low energy light bulbs in all appropriate light fittings
d. installed basic controls for your heating system to include a room thermostat and a programmer or timer.

We recommend that you complete a home energy check to assess which measures are most suitable for your home. You can also call your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 for guidance on energy efficiency measures and energy efficiency grants available in your area.
H.) I applied for a householder grant online and was successful. Why haven’t I received my email confirmation?
When you successfully apply for a householder grant online you will receive a grant offer letter via email. Therefore you must enter your email address accurately. If your email account has a spam filter your grant offer letter may be sent to your junk items box. If you have not received your grant offer letter within 3 working days and it is not in your junk items box please call our helpline on 0800 915 0990.

I.) I applied for a grant with a paper application. Why haven’t I received any response?
Paper application forms will be processed within 15 working days of receipt. If you have given an email address on your application form and ticked to say you are happy to receive communications by email, any response to your application will be sent to that email address. If you do not have an email address a response will be sent by post to the correspondence address listed on your application form.
J.) Where can my installer obtain a completion certificate?
These can be downloaded from this website, click here to download the completion certificates.

K.) Provisional certification
Installers certified under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme can be either provisionally or fully certified. Provisional certification means that a certified installer can carry out 5 installations; the installer must be inspected by the certification organisation before they can become fully certified and do an unlimited number of installations.

Both provisionally and fully certified installers are available for selection on the online application system. However, please note that once the provisionally certified installer you have selected has reached the 5 installation limit, the online system will not allow you to proceed with an application. You will only be able to select them again once they have become fully certified; the same rules apply for applications made on paper.

L.) What are the criteria for receiving a grant?
The main criteria for householders are:
1. Applicants must be the householder / owners of the property for which the grant is applied (applicants who have leasehold ownership must have permission of the property freeholder).
2. Applicants must be resident of, and the installation address be situated in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland (excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).
3. Systems must supply a permanent building (mobile homes, caravans, house boats etc. are not eligible).
4. You have installed the basic level of energy efficiency measures as outlined in FAQ G above. You may be able to access grants for energy efficiency measures. Have a look at the Energy Saving Trust’s grants information database or call your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 for information on energy efficiency grants .
5. You must have received planning permission for your installation or received confirmation from your local authority that it is not required.  

M.) Can I still receive a grant if a non-certified installer performs the installation?
Only if the certified installer who installed the technology was not contracted to you directly, but was sub-contracted by your main contractor. In this case, the certified installer must fill out the completion certificate, and you must provide a suitable chain of copy invoices evidencing to the Energy Saving Trust’s satisfaction that the work was carried out by the certified installer and that the certified installer has been paid in full for that work.

N.) I live in a house owned by the council; can I apply for a grant?
Unfortunately you can’t apply for a grant. The council – as the owner of the building – must apply for the grant under the Phase 1, Stream 2 or Phase 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

O.) I would like to install a microgeneration technology on my property, but I rent part of it out. Will I be eligible for a grant?
It depends. In order to be eligible for a grant, the benefit of the system must be clearly accrued only to the domestic owner and resident. For example: you would like to install photovoltaic tiles on the ground floor extension of a property you own but let out the top floor. In this case, you will be eligible for a grant as long as you use the ground floor flat as a dwelling, and the electricity generated by the installation only benefits that flat (through separate metering).

P.) Can I apply more than once for the same project for different technologies?
Yes you can. You can apply for funding for up to 3 different technologies on one building, with a maximum of 3 different buildings funded (NB these have to be on separate applications). There is a maximum of £2,500 of funding available per installation address.

Q.) What if the grant applications are for different addresses?
Different addresses are still eligible as the programme is all about maximising the number of low carbon buildings.

R.) I received a grant under the old schemes (Clear Skies and PV schemes), can I have a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme too?
Yes, provided it is for another technology. You cannot have more than one grant from this or the previous programmes for the same technology.

S.) I live in Scotland / Northern Ireland, can I also get a grant from the schemes operating here?
You will not be allowed to receive a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme along with a grant from the Scottish Community and Household Renewables Initiative (SCHRI) or the Northern Ireland’s Renewable Energy Fund for the same project or installation; i.e. double funding for projects will not be allowed.

T.) Can I obtain lottery funding in addition to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Grant?
Yes, you will be able to apply for funding under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme as well as for lottery funding, provided the total sum of funding received does not exceed 100% of the cost of the installation.

U.) What can be funded?
Grants are available for more than one microgeneration technology at the same address. All new systems supported with Low Carbon Buildings Grants must deliver an output of greater than 0.5kWp for electrical installations. There is no minimum for thermal installations.

Applications must be related to installations on permanent buildings. Applications for temporary and mobile buildings or non-building related installations will not be considered for Grant support (e.g. mobile homes, houseboats, motorway sound barriers, telecommunication towers).

Grants will only be awarded in respect of equipment and work directly related to the installed system. This includes design of the system, the cost of the plant and/or materials, installation and connection. Unrelated building works are not eligible.

Grants may only be claimed for approved (certified) products/systems. Your certified installer will be aware of this list. Where you have applied for a grant and installed a product not listed on the approved register, your grant will NOT be paid. 

Installations should be designed and commissioned by certified installers. If a non-certified installer carries out the installation, then the grant will not be awarded in respect of this part of the cost. A certified installer must confirm that the system has been satisfactorily installed by signing the programme completion certific.

Please note the grant will not cover:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT)

  • Un-associated costs (e.g. roofing works outside the direct installation of the microtechnology system, vandal covers, asbestos removal, upgrades to your household ring main, new radiators or heat distribution system, etc.)

  • Warranty costs — all accredited microgeneration installers are required to provide an installation warranty free of charge. Manufacturers usually provide an extensive lifetime warranty for their technology. Consult your installer for details of these warranties before committing

  • Expenditure on works or activities which any other person or organisation has a statutory duty to undertake

  • Any liability arising out of negligence on the part of the Applicant or its representatives

  • Expenditure of a political or religious nature

Please refer to the term and conditions for further details.

V.) Can I pay a deposit before I apply for my grant?
Please note that any payment you make to your installer is done at your own risk. Grant assistance is not automatically guaranteed to all who make an application; we therefore advise applicants not to make any payments before the receipt of a grant offer.

W.) My grant offer letter now contains out of date information due to changes to my installation project; what can I do?
If your grant offer letter becomes out of date due to changes to your installation project, you must, as a condition of the grant, inform us in writing of these changes. You may


Withdraw from your current grant offer and reapply with details from your newly appointed installer. In this instance your grant offer would be re-issued with the correct details listed.


Continue installation work at your own risk under your current grant offer. In this instance, your grant offer and web entry will not be updated with the details you have supplied. We will accept a grant claim against your original grant offer though please note that:
1) the maximum grant payable will be capped at your original offer amount but may be reduced
2) the grant claim will only be honoured where:
– All information complies with the terms and conditions of the grant
– The new installer has the correct certification
– The equipment installed is approved
If when you come to claim, there is a problem with your installer’s certification, or they have installed unapproved equipment then we will reject your claim and no monies will be payable.
Please click here to check certification status of your proposed system and new installer.

X.) Which technology is right for me?
It depends on the location of your house and the type of microgeneration system that you are considering on installing. You could take a look at the section on this website on microgeneration technologies to consider the technology that might be most suitable for you.

If you would like to read about other case studies of previously funded microgeneration installations take a look at: 

The Clear Skies website and the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
Y.) Can grants be obtained for Air Source Heat Pumps?
The current accreditation schemes does not cover this technology. The new scheme will do so after appropriate standards for this technology have been developed. 

Z.) Are wind turbines suitable in all locations?
The Energy Saving Trust does not guarantee or underwrite the performance of any technology grant funded under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. You are advised to ask your installer (or the product manufacturer) what reassurances they can provide you in support of any performance claims they make.

This is especially important for small wind turbines, due to the variability in local wind conditions. For some newer wind turbines, particularly those designed for mounting on buildings, there may not be (or only limited) independent long-term performance data verifying performance claims.

AA.) How long must the microgeneration system operate?
The system installed must operate at the Installation address for a minimum of 5 years from the date of the completion certificate. The Energy Saving Trust, or its authorised representative, may carry out a site inspection to ensure compliance of these programme conditions. Applicants must also ensure that end users of the microgeneration system co-operate with any energy monitoring exercise carried out by the Energy Saving Trust or its authorised representatives.

AB.) What if I decide to sell my property before the 5 years are up?
You must then write to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme to inform us of this as well as of the details of the person(s) that have bought the property. The new owner(s) must be made aware that the terms and conditions of grant have now passed on to them.

AC.) I can’t find an installer for Fuel Cells, Renewable CHP or Micro CHP?
The new certification scheme will cover these technologies after appropriate standards for these technologies have been developed. 

AD.) I would like to use a particular installer that is not on the list, what can I do?
The onus for obtaining certification for the installation of renewable energy technologies lies with the installer and not with the certification organisation. If an installer wishes to become certified, and so be able to service customers who are also looking to apply for a grant under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, they will need to join the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme

AE.) How many grants have been given so far?
By clicking here you can view statistics on stream 1 – household grant applications by country and region.