Frequently asked questions - RCEF

1. What legal entities are eligible?

The final form of the community structure chosen to undertake an RCEF project must consist of responsible persons able to enter into contracts on behalf of the group they represent.  Examples of eligible groups include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Community interest company (CIC)
  • Industrial provident society (IPS) such as co-operatives
  • Parish council
  • Registered social landlord
  • Charity
  • Development trust
  • Faith group

2. Where can I find more information about forming an eligible community legal entity?

Advice and guidance on forming a legal entity can be found via the links below:

3. Should I seek legal advice when setting up my community organisation?

It is the decision of the community group whether to seek legal advice on forming a legal entity, however we recommend that you do so.

4. How can I engage with my local community?

There are a number of ways in which you might choose to engage with the local community, for example holding a public meeting, carrying out a survey or petition, and initiating a discussion at a parish council meeting. Find out more about how to engage with your local community.

5. Which technologies are eligible?

  • Hydropower
  • Solar photo voltaic
  • Solar thermal
  • Wind turbines
  • Ground and air source heat pumps
  • Anaerobic digestion, biomass, bio liquids, biogas and bio-CHP
  • Low carbon/renewable heat networks
  • Gas combined heat and power (CHP) units

6. Where can I find further information on the different renewable energy technologies?

There is a wealth of information online covering the various renewable energy technologies. A good place to start is at PlanLoCaL.

7. What size projects are you looking for?

The scale of the projects eligible for funding will vary according to technology type. In general terms, this fund will suit a community renewable energy project that:
  • requires planning permission
  • will generate power for multiple buildings (or export the equivalent to the grid). The fund is not designed for single building installations even when those are community buildings.
  • require significant capital outlay to build
  • is of sufficient scale to enable repayment of the pre-planning loan

8. How do I go about selecting a suitable consultant?   

To access good quality advice, you should speak to a range of potential suppliers. WRAP reserves the right to ensure that proposed suppliers have the appropriate skills and experience to undertake the work. We will look for:
  1. A demonstrable track record of experience and/ or qualifications in the relevant field. This may be demonstrated by their professional accreditation, CV, case studies, testimonials etc.
  2. Professional indemnity insurance of over £1m to cover your community for the investment of time and money you will be making on the basis of their advice.
  3. Value for money:  getting as many quotes as possible – we recommend at least three - will help you to establish a reasonable cost for the work in the current market. 
  4. A declaration of pecuniary interest. We will need to know whether your selected consultant has any personal or business relationships, for example with your community legal entity or technology supplier, which might influence their advice.
  5. Assurance that your selected consultant has appropriate financial experience to put together the required financial plans required for the project.
There are a large number of consultants operating in England. These range from specialists, for example in a particular renewable technology or the planning process, and generalists who can provide an overview of project feasibility. This includes a range of not-for-profit organisations who may also be able to help you.

At stage 1 you may find that one supplier can carry out the feasibility report. At Stage 2 you may find that you require more specialised support on key aspects of the project and therefore need to engage a range of suppliers. At this stage you may find a dedicated project manager useful to manage the range of suppliers engaged.

9. When should I apply for a stage 2 loan?   

Stage 2 loans are for communities with proposals ready to be developed into fully-costed business plans.  These more developed projects will require specific support with the steps required to achieve planning consent, for example undertaking environmental impact assessments and obtaining Environment Agency permits.

As such, communities should have already undertaken an initial feasibility study and submitted their report to WRAP.  If you believe that your community has already undertaken the feasibility work required of stage 1, we suggest that you speak to WRAP about next steps.

10. What is the level of premium and why is this being charged?

The premium is a one off percentage payment payable when the project secures financial investment from another source.  The premium will be 45% of any money advanced at stage 2.  It is a one off payment that reflects the revenue generating potential of projects ready for infrastructure development and is not an annual percentage rate.  The premium will be returned to the fund to enable more communities to benefit in future.

11. Can applications be submitted by an organisation based in a different location to the bidding community?

Yes. Applications from organisations located in a different geographical location from that of the infrastructure to be developed will be considered provided they can demonstrate:

  • The support of the community in proximity to where the infrastructure will be located.
  • That the income and benefits generated will flow to the community where the infrastructure will be located.