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£3m fund to help homeowners install renewable energy systems

The Scottish Government has said the funding will be targeted at homes living in fuel poverty.

Measures to help fuel poverty announced
© STV

A new £3m fund will help hundreds of homes living in fuel poverty get their own green energy supply, according to the Scottish Government.

The money is available as interest-free loans to help people install renewable heat and electricity systems. People can borrow up to £10,000 to help with the cost of installing devices such as solar panels, micro wind turbines or biomass boilers.

As well as helping the environment, such devices can cut energy costs, while households can receive payments for supplying electricity to the national grid.

Renewable-heat premium payment vouchers, one-off payments to householders to help them buy green heating technologies, are also available.

The Scottish Government has said the funding will be targeted at homes living in fuel poverty.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "As well as being a huge help in fighting fuel poverty, this investment will help Scotland become greener. The wide take-up of small-scale technologies will be vital for helping us to become a truly low-carbon economy.

"Low-cost, low-carbon heating technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps will cut emissions and support jobs in the manufacturing and installation industry.

"This investment will also help to boost our micro-generation market, which will also help to create jobs in this fast-growing industry and meet our commitment to deliver renewable energy and energy-efficient homes in those communities worst affected by fuel poverty.

"We are determined to help householders keep their energy bills down wherever we can.

"With the UK Government delaying its domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme until at least spring 2014, our funding boost will make sure households, especially those in fuel poverty, are able to increase their income through renewable technologies.

"The investment will ensure hundreds of Scottish households get their own sustainable green energy supply and in doing so, they will receive payments for supplying electricity to the national grid or by cashing in a renewable heat premium payment voucher."

Mike Thornton, director of Energy Saving Trust in Scotland, said the funding will "help many more households benefit from renewables technology".

He said: "It is a very positive step in the journey to increase the use of renewables in the home and to help people cut their fuel bills."

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of Holyrood's Energy Committee, said the cash would be better spent on measures such as improving home insulation.

"I'm supportive of moves to make people's homes more energy efficient. However, the SNP extending its wind turbine obsession to back gardens and roofs should not form part of this fund. These micro-turbines are notoriously inefficient at producing power and will do nothing to help meet renewable energy targets," he said.

"Better use of this money would be demand-reduction measures such as home insulation which will help in reducing the numbers of people across Scotland falling into fuel poverty, rather than seeking to roll out inefficient and expensive mechanisms for energy generation."

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