Scottish government announces £4m extra funding for green energy scheme

Solar panels A photovoltaic system converts the sun's rays into direct electrical current

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The Scottish government has announced £4m of extra funding for a scheme which helps Scottish households generate their own green energy.

The Home Renewables Loan Scheme gives people access to interest free loans of up to £10,000 for a range of renewable energy technology.

The project was launched in 2011 and aimed to cut reliance on fossil fuels.

First Minister Alex Salmond said the scheme was "vital" to enable Scotland to be "a truly low-carbon economy".

Mr Salmond announced the extra money during a visit to Lewis, following a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet on the isle.

He said: "Scotland is going greener and the wide take up of small scale renewables appliances in households will be vital for us to become a truly low-carbon economy.

"There has never been a better time to save energy and go green.

"Since April 2011, more than 1,188 loans have been issued to householders across Scotland and in particular more than 53 loans across the Western Isles. Islanders are clearly leading the charge in choosing efficient green energy."

Under the scheme, managed by the Energy Saving Trust, households can obtain interest free loans of up to 75% of the total cost of a domestic renewables system such as a solar photovoltaic system or a micro wind turbine.

Alternatively, households can borrow up to 100% of the cost of connecting to an approved local heating scheme that's powered by renewable energy.

Mike Thornton, director of the trust, said: "Since April 2011, households that have received a loan will make total savings and income of over £12m.

"Figures like these mean we expect many more to take up this Scottish government loan and reap the benefits of a home renewables system."

Lang Banks, director of environmental group WWF Scotland, said: "Scotland has been leading the way in deploying renewables at scale.

"However, it's just as important that ordinary households are able to play their part in cutting emissions by joining the renewables revolution that is now underway. This funding will help even more Scots plug into clean, green, money-saving energy sources."

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