The Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) Project Development Toolkit has been developed specifically to help community groups and rural businesses of all kinds take forward the development of renewable energy projects. It is designed to be accessible to people with different levels of understanding of the technology, project development, financial and legal issues.

To achieve this outcome, there is an accompanying CARES Renewables Handbook which describes each renewable energy technology in detail, including the major issues to be considered when developing projects using these technologies.

The Toolkit provides guidance to community groups in developing their project from an initial concept through to construction and operation. It does not replace the need for specialist support from third-party suppliers or consultants, but ensures that you will be guided through the steps of the development process by identifying the steps that you can complete yourself and signposting to those steps where additional support is likely to be required.

How to use this Toolkit

This Toolkit comprises two elements. One is a group of technology-specific modules to guide the development of specific projects using:

The other element consists of a number of modules providing generic information applicable across most technology-specific developments:

These documents are designed to guide the user through the process of developing a renewable energy project.

To make best use of this Toolkit, it is important that you first read the module specific to your chosen technology and its accompanying CARES renewables handbook. The technology module will signpost you to the other relevant generic modules in the Toolkit as required.

As you go through these documents, you will see that while they contain relevant information and advice, they also signpost to other sources of web-based information. This recognises that each project will be different and ensures that you have access to the latest information necessary to develop your project. The objective of this approach is to put you in touch with a wide group of organisations that can help you to develop your project. In this way, there is no reason at all why a viable project should not be taken to completion to allow you to enjoy the benefits that you seek to gain from it.


The role of CARES

The availability of this Toolkit is not a substitute for dialogue with CARES. Therefore, you are encouraged to make contact with CARES at the initiation of your project and as it progresses. Your local CARES development officer will have insight into some of the challenges you will face developing your project and the success stories of other groups in your area.

 In addition to the modules and technology guides your local CARES development officer is there to support you through the project development process – Local Energy Scotland has a network of development officers across Scotland to provide regional advice and support wherever you are.


What next?

Your local CARES development officer can help you identify which technology may be most appropriate for you to consider installing. Reading the CARES renewables handbook will help you determine this as well.

Once you have determined where your renewable energy opportunity lies, read the relevant technology section of the CARES Project Development Toolkit and this will guide you through the process of developing your own renewables project.


Every project development is different. The Toolkit aims to help you identify the requirements in developing your project. If there is further information you think should be included in the Toolkit or elements within it that you think should be updated, then let us know and we will look into incorporating your feedback.

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