Green energy specialist urges UK small firms to take up new funding

A leading global renewable energy specialist is urging UK small firms to take advantage of increased Government funding for energy efficiency improvements.

Wirral based Stiebel Eltron says the Carbon Trust is set to relax its rules for loans on energy efficiency improvements and expand the funds available to help small firms struggling for resources because of the credit crunch. The Carbon Trust is a Government funded body created to help businesses cut their carbon emissions. It will double the maximum size of its interest free energy efficiency loans to £200,000. It will also increase the overall loans pot by 45pc to £31m. The interest free loans are unsecured and repayable over a period of up to four years.

Stiebel Eltron’s UK managing director Mark McManus said the move is welcome and urged businesses to take advantage of it to help slash energy bills by going green. He said Stiebel Eltron will undertake a free energy efficiency report for any firm in the UK.

“This report will examine the heat loss and heat demands of the building and detail a set of recommendations,” he said. “Moreover we also offer a ‘one stop shop’ advice service giving guidance on a range of issues from complying with legislation, to applying for ‘green’ grants, to taking advantage of tax breaks to advice on installation of renewable energy products. But renewable energy products are very much the future and made more attractive by this increased funding. Our products, for example do not use oil, gas or coal and only take a small amount of electricity from the national grid. The rest of the energy, to heat a building, is generated by the environment either from beneath the ground, from the air or through solar panels. This obviously costs nothing and does not emit Co2. So in a climate of increased Government pressure and soaring gas bills renewable energy products are a cost saving, green-friendly alternative for firms. ”

Mr McManus said there is increased Government pressure on the private sector to meet green targets.

“Understanding of green energy issues is limited and advice is desperately needed,” he said. “The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates this year is just the tip of the iceberg. There is more legislation looming with the Climate Change Bill and the Energy Bill which will ramp up the pressure to become more energy efficient. Failure to have an EPC, for example, for a commercial property can result in a £5000 fine. But there is carrot as well as stick. VAT on renewable energy products is just 5pc and there is the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme. Through this scheme businesses can write off the whole of the capital cost of their investment in green friendly technologies against their taxable profits.”

Mr McManus also pointed to the Low Carbon Building Programme - a major Government grant programme. The programme provides grants for the installation of green friendly renewable energy products in businesses as well as public sector buildings and households.

“We feel passionate about green energy but as a commercial business ourselves we understand the pressures businesses and the public sector are under,” he said. “It is not always easy to know where to start. Our advice service is practically based and we can give clear advice on exactly how to best install green technology and see the cost savings benefits.”

For further information contact Stiebel Eltron’s UK head office on Wirral International Business Park tel: 0151 346 2300. Phonelines will be manned 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday or email mark.mcmanus@stiebel-eltron.co.uk also visit www.carbontrust.co.uk

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