Hounslow Council's Community Energy Fund


Q. How long is the funding round open for? 

You have until the 31 July, 2023 to submit your application. This is to provide you with enough time to build the business case for your idea before it is ready to be funded. This includes seeking quotes, match-funding, feasibility works, and estimating carbon reduction.

Q. I want to apply, but I am not sure where I should start? 

If you want to get ideas for projects, please refer to our application guidance. Have a look at the process map which outlines the steps that should be taken to build your application to a standard that is ready to submit.

Q: Would it be possible to meet up with Hounslow Officers to discuss our contexts, and possible best way forward before we put in a bid?

Yes. Get in touch! We can discuss your idea with you and put you in touch with our Corporate Energy Team who may be able provide initial advice on which technologies would be suitable for your project. Please email environmental.strategy@hounslow.gov.uk to speak with an officer.

Q. Can I work with a partner organisation on my project?

We encourage community groups to work together with other organisations who can help provide you with the expertise to set up a community energy project or fill in an application form for funding. Partnership bids must nominate a single organisation to submit the application and be able to receive funding. If successful, this lead organisation would receive the funding, distribute it to partners and complete project monitoring.

Q: Are you required to apply for match-funding, or can you apply directly to the fund?

You can apply directly to the fund. We encourage applicants to consider match-funding to leverage the HCEF, especially for larger projects. This may be less relevant for small to medium projects, and it is not a pre-requisite to apply.

Q: It might be easier to develop a case for installing LED lighting as opposed to a complete retrofit, would this still be acceptable?

Yes. Community groups may not be able to decarbonise completely in one go. However, you might want to identify match-funding to expand your project or consider how your project could involve a greater amount of community engagement and social inclusion. We welcome innovative, small, and highly visible projects that feed back into the community as well as larger projects.

Q: How far does £40,000 go? Would this cover heat pumps for larger community buildings?

Organisations such as Power Up North London, suggest that for a 47kwH heat pump could potentially cost circa £70,000, including installation. Therefore, we encourage seeking match-funding from multiple sources.  This is a problem currently faced by the heat pump industry at large, that buyers cannot currently pay for heat pumps simply through the savings that it creates, and groups have to rely on merging different pots of available funding.

Q: Will the grant support hybrid systems e.g. heat pumps with gas boiler as a back-up? 

Yes. We are open to exploring all options as there are different technologies that may be more suited to your building needs.

Q: Is funding per organisation or per project? Can the fund be split across different buildings in the same organisation?

Yes. As energy prices are now higher, our ultimate aim is to maximise the amount we can save to reduce energy bills, and this may involve retrofitting multiple buildings within the same organisation. A project may cover several sites in one application form.

Q. Can my project be broken up into multiple phases and seek funding for further phases once another funding round for HCEF is announced?  

Yes, we welcome phased projects that will return for further rounds of funding. Please outline your project phases (can remain high level if you are still fleshing out details) and wider project ambitions in the application. 

Q. Can I receive HCEF funding even if I have received other funds for the same project? 

Yes, as long as receiving HCEF funding is compliant with the terms of the other funding sources, we encourage you to utilise additional funding sources where possible. This includes other funds administered by the Council.

Q. Can my project also apply for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)?

Yes, you can receive a SEG tariff alongside capital grants for generating renewable energy, but not for both the SEG and FiT export tariff. Find out more

Q. How do we measure the estimated carbon saved by our project?

This is dependent on your project idea, please refer to the application guidance notes for more details on how to measure carbon emission reduction. Failure to provide this information may jeopardise your application, as we are unable to fund projects which do not highlight this. If you are finding this difficult, get in touch at environmental.strategy@hounslow.gov.uk

Q. What level of technical information do you require on a small or medium project, such as installing LEDs?

You should seek energy surveys from potential suppliers, with three quotes for works above £5,000. If you can provide as much information in the LBH Non-Domestic Energy Survey as you can, this can be used to highlight any changes that need to be made. Centre for Sustainable Energy has a useful explainer guide for carrying out an energy audit.

Q: Would the Council support community groups in calculating projected carbon savings (as part of the application process)? Equally, would the Council offer support in monitoring the carbon savings of projects? Or would the onus be on the community groups to calculate this?

We are willing to work with community groups who are finding it difficult to calculate carbon savings, so please get in touch with us if you are in this situation. If you provide us with as much relevant information as possible in your application, we will support you to develop this.

Q: How much detail is required on community involvement e.g. providing energy efficiency fairs at a church?

At this stage, we are looking at high-level information to ensure that you have the relevant stakeholders involved and a general plan for which you can provide greater detail as you go forward with your idea.

Q: It takes longer than three months to get permission from our church diocese for retrofit projects. What should we do? 

Whilst we have set a deadline for application submissions, we hope to continue the fund on a rolling basis for these types of projects. Therefore, we encourage you to pursue your application, but you must receive the required permissions before starting any works.

Q. How do I decide between the three quotes I've sourced? 

There are many considerations that should be taken into account when sourcing a supplier such as assurances given, value for money, service level, etc. Ultimately, it is your decision to choose a supplier you are most content with as long as you can demonstrate rational for your decision in the application. Please get in touch at environmental.strategy@houslow.gov.uk if you'd like assistance in assessing suppliers. Also see Energy Saving Trust guidance on installing renewables for considerations to prioritise when receiving quotes for renewable projects.  

Q. I’ve submitted my bid, what happens next?

Community groups should be informed about the status of their bid by the end of October. Unsuccessful bids will receive feedback on their application and may want to consider revising their bid.

Q. How will my funding be released if my bid is successful?

50% of the funding will be released at the completion of the grant agreement – with the remaining 50% to be released at key milestones of the project plan, based on the specifics of each project.

For further information or for queries on completing your application, please contact us at environmental.strategy@hounslow.co.uk. Please be aware that if you contact us within a week of a fund deadline, we may not be able to respond in time so please contact us as early in the process as possible.



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