Small Business Energy Grants

What does the winter ahead hold for energy prices? Right now the only thing we’d put a bet on is that the future is uncertain. No news there, for sure. And not much you can do about that as a small business. So what CAN you do?

How to find the right energy grants for your manufacturing business

What you can do is explore ways to cut your bills and improve your business. That’s worth doing right now because there’s a fair bit of help around. That help comes in the form of both cash and advice.

So, if you’re a manufacturer and keen to cut energy costs, read on for an explanation of what’s on offer - including our brand new grant fund.

What are business energy grants?

Manufacturing businesses across the UK are making some serious dents in their energy bill by using new tools and tech that do things like identify areas in a plant that are using too much electricity. This is where the grant funding and advice comes in. 

It takes investment to install new systems as well as skills that not every business has. Which is why a range of schemes offer loans, grants or subsidised energy-saving measures to help businesses reduce energy usage. These schemes are designed to help with:

  • energy efficiency measures – such as revising production processes
  • the upfront costs of investing in energy-efficient equipment and new tech that helps with monitoring and using energy
  • waste management and reduction 
  • Sustainability and green initiatives.

The different schemes are funded by local and central governments as well as the energy companies themselves.

Funding can come in a variety of forms:

  • Grants that cover all or some of the costs associated with a project. Grants don’t need to be paid back (unless you break the terms of agreement) but can be a bit more involved in terms of the application process and how you report progress.
  • Loans for energy investments tend to offer competitive rates. They tend to be quicker to access but, of course, need to be paid back.
  • Subsidised support measures. Subsidies can include things like support with asset purchases as well as free or low cost advice and support. Subsidies don’t need to be repaid, unless again you break the terms of agreement.

How business energy grants could help your business

Saving money is probably the main reason you’ll want to look into grants and other forms of support. Whilst that’s a decent reason in itself, your business could also benefit from being more competitive and being more attractive to some customers.

Here’s how b​​usiness energy grants could be good for you and your firm:

  1. Cost savings: Energy grants and subsidies can help cover the costs of reducing energy, such as using power monitoring devices to tell you when equipment is using power but not being used to manufacture goods. By reducing your energy consumption, you can lower utility bills and save money in the long run.

  2. Environmental sustainability: Investing in energy-efficient technologies helps reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. By using renewable energy sources or implementing energy-saving measures, you can also demonstrate your commitment to environmental responsibility.

  3. Enhanced reputation: Embracing energy-efficient practices improves your image and reputation. End-users, customers and stakeholders are increasingly conscious of businesses' environmental impact, and by taking advantage of energy grants, you can showcase a commitment to sustainability.

  4. Compliance with regulations: Some energy grants may be tied to specific regulations or government initiatives. By using these grants, you can ensure compliance with energy efficiency standards and avoid potential penalties or fines.

  5. Competitive advantage: Implementing energy-efficient technologies can give you a competitive edge in the market. You’ll be exposed to new technologies, to new skills and you’ll get new ideas - all of which could be a real long-term boost to your business.

SMDH grants suitable for  energy savings in small manufacturing businesses in the UK

We offer three different funding opportunities based on the needs of your company.

Lighthouses - aims to develop already proven digital products and processes into readily accessible solutions which meet the needs of manufacturing SMEs. Grant funding of up to £315,000 per project. Learn more

Virtual Testbeds - aims to provide financial support and opportunities  to bring pre-existing testbeds to the SMDH community and enable SMEs to utilise them.  Grant funding of up to £100,000 per project. Learn more

Rapid Demonstrators - aims to support SMEs with sensor installation, data analysis or similar to enable levelling-up the opportunities for SMEs to exceed and expand. Grant funding of up to £50,000 per project. Learn more

How to apply for grants suited for business energy saving

When you apply for grants and subsidies you will need to complete a few forms and may be asked to provide evidence to support your application. Typically you’ll be asked for:

  • Contact details for your business.
  • Companies house and VAT registration details.
  • Financial information like project costs and co-investment.
  • Insights into how you’d use the funding.

Most funders appreciate that you’re busy so try and keep admin to a minimum, but it can get complicated. If you need support from people like you and industry experts why not join our online community?

How have manufacturing businesses improved energy efficiency?

Northern Ireland-based company GE Spares, which specialises in the fabrication of abrasive wear plates and special steel products, has put in place a low-cost sensor system to enhance its operations, with support from our team here at the SMDH. 

The system uses a split-core current clamp connected to a multifunction meter that collects data and sends it to a microcontroller. The data is then displayed live on a dashboard, allowing for immediate action when an unusual energy spike is detected. The system also provides historical information on energy consumption. 

This data-informed approach has enabled GE Spares to determine the cost of running machines based on their varied time of use and to calculate the energy used to manufacture each product. The company can also monitor energy data in real-time to detect unusual fluctuations or spikes in power, providing early detection of downtime.

Want to be the next business that uses data to make your business more efficient? Check out whether an SMDH grant may be right for you. We’re offering funding of between £5,000 and £315,000, subject to project type.


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