Retail giant Marks & Spencer has teamed up with a Cornish energy scheme to launch a competition and help community energy groups achieve their ambitions, Western Morning News has reported.
Any not-for-profit organisation wanting to use renewable energy for community benefit can apply for up to a £400,000 prize fund set up by M&S Energy and Cornwall’s energyshare.
Following the initial application and shortlisting the winners will be decided by public vote, enabling local communities to choose the project they believe offers the greatest benefit to them.
There are estimated to be more than 5,000 community energy groups currently active in the UK, with more than 700 launching every year since 2008.
Announced last week at the M&S Plan A 2020 Stakeholder event in London, the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund will offer community energy groups a total prize pot of up to £400,000.
Applications are now open and will close on Wednesday, 29 July.
The judging panel, made up of renewable energy experts from M&S Energy and SSE, will then agree a shortlist ahead of the final public vote, which opens on Monday, 17 August and closes on Wednesday, 30 September.
In addition to the public vote, there will be one Judges’ Prize for the most innovative or inspiring project, whether in the technology being used or in the approach to the renewable energy challenge.