A NEW scheme has been launched to help businesses meet the cost of switching to sources of renewable energy.

The Marches Renewable Energy Grant Scheme can help small and medium sized enterprises across the region, including Herefordshire, get a 50% grant towards installing renewable energy sources.

Project manager Adrian Marshall said grants would be awarded for new installations, with the scheme run by Herefordshire Council and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Mr Marshall said a range of renewable technologies are covered including wind power, solar energy and air-sourced heat pumps.

"This grant scheme offers a real opportunity for businesses across the region to switch to sustainable and renewable energy supplies by meeting half the cost of installing these new technologies on their premises," he said.

"There is no maximum grant, but installations are expected to be in the range of 4 to 200kWp.

The Marches LEP wants to increase the use of renewable and green energy sources.

Director Gill Hamer said: "This scheme offers real financial help to businesses across our region to plan for the future by making their energy supply as sustainable and efficient as possible."

The first grant award has already been made to Frank H Dale Ltd of Leominster.

The major structural steelwork fabricator received a 50% grant award for roof mounted solar panels to help reduce energy costs and the environmental footprint at the company's new state of the art production facility in the town.

Director, Steven Dale, said: "Our business sector has extremely tight margins and therefore any gains that can be found like this are worth a lot both in competitiveness and help with investment.

"We see the fact that this particular investment also reduces our carbon footprint as a real positive."

For more information visit herefordshire.gov.uk/MarRE or call 01432 260064.