Rural sports clubs, schools and churches are being told they could cut their energy bills by powering buildings with clean electricity, thanks to a £10 million government fund.
The money has already helped over 150 rural communities become cleaner and more sustainable by generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 30,000 homes.
Renewable projects that have received funding so far include solar panels on Salisbury Cathedral and Frome Town FC and hydroelectric turbines on the River Dane in Cheshire.
Frome Town FC installed enough solar capacity to power 2,000 light bulbs and strip 333 tonnes of CO2 being pumped into the local environment, and generating almost £70,000 for the local community by selling extra solar electricity back to the grid.
New community projects across England are now being encouraged to apply for feasibility grants of up to £40,000 for green initiatives, including solar battery storage, wind, hydro and geothermal heat projects.
Viable proposals will also be considered for further grants of up to £100,000 for business development and planning applications.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore said: “It will take all corners of the country and sections of society to help us to tackle climate change on our path to becoming a net zero emissions economy and communities are at the heart of our mission for a greener planet.
“This £10 million fund can help sports clubs, churches and schools not only save money and reduce emissions by creating their own clean energy but also make money by selling it back to the grid.”
Funding has helped not-for profit Salisbury Community Energy develop renewable energy projects at eight sites across the city, including exploring the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof of the cloisters of Salisbury cathedral.
Alison Craig, Development Manager at Salisbury Community Energy, said: “Climate change is going to hit us all hard. The flood risk to Salisbury has, according to the most recent Environment Agency data, risen significantly. This makes the move towards making Salisbury zero carbon all the more important. These grants have enabled us to take the crucial first steps in creating green community assets for our historic city.”