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UK SMEs to benefit from new £550m green financing

A £550 million green business finance fund has been announced that will benefit small to medium-sized companies that want to improve their energy efficiency affordably.

The new Energy Efficiency Financing scheme is the first privately financed scheme of its kind in the UK and is being jointly launched by Siemens and the Carbon Trust. It will provide green equipment finance to businesses of all sizes over the next three years with loans starting as low as £1,000 and payable through energy savings to make it affordable to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

UK businesses will be able to invest in equipment ranging from energy efficient lighting and refrigeration to biomass heating by applying for loans through the scheme. It will be financed and managed by Siemens Financial Services (UK), while the Carbon Trust is bringing its expertise in assessing the carbon, energy and cost savings of green technologies, to the table.

The Energy Efficiency Financing scheme will be open for business on April 4 2011. It is expected to provide loans of £30,000 on average to at least 15000 organisations over the next three years.

The Energy Efficiency Financing scheme will not provide interest free loans as the Carbon Trust provides under its Government-backed SME loans scheme, which closes at the end of the month.

The flexible terms of the Energy Efficiency Financing scheme allow customers to benefit from affordable payments that can be offset against the energy savings made from using the equipment.

The fund is being launched as UK businesses still await details of the Government’s Green Investment Bank and its flagship Green Deal, a scheme that, much like the Energy Efficiency Financing scheme, will enable small businesses to gain upfront capital to make energy efficiency improvements and pay it back through the savings made on their energy bills.

It is being welcomed by business and environmental groups who say it could play a significant role in improving the energy efficiency of UK businesses at the same time as boosting green growth.