Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 13:49 UK

Cash-back scheme for small-scale green energy

A mini wind turbine and a chimney top
Funds are available to help households install wind turbines

A government scheme offering cash incentives for small-scale green energy projects has come into effect.

The feed-in tariffs cash-back scheme will give subsidies to families, businesses, farmers and communities who generate their own green electricity.

The scheme will offer incentives on renewable installations up to 5MW in size - equivalent to two large commercial wind turbines.

The tariffs will vary by technology and scale of installation.

Solar panels, micro-wind turbines, water turbines, anaerobic digestors and solar arrays are all eligible for the scheme.

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Milliband said: "The guarantee of getting an income on top of saving on energy bills will be an incentive to householders and communities wanting to make the move to low carbon living.

We need more support for whole communities, not just individual households
Dave Timms
Friends of the Earth

"The feed-in tariff will change the way householders and communities think about their future energy needs, making the payback for investment far shorter than in the past."

A YouGov survey for Friends of the Earth, the Renewable Energy Association and the Co-operative Group, published earlier this year, found that 71% of homeowners said they would consider installing green energy systems if the cash-back scheme was generous enough.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the move, although some argue it does not go far enough.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) said the tariffs did not offer a sufficient level of support for larger projects for communities, farms or businesses.

FoE green homes campaigner Dave Timms added: "We need more support for whole communities, not just individual households."

Some concerns have also been voiced about the possible impact on the rural landscape.

"There's a 'wind grab' going on behind the scenes," said Peter Strang Steel, who runs a property property acquisition company in the south east of Scotland

"Farmers and landowners are frantically putting in planning applications for individual turbines and turbine clusters up and down the country."

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