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- Is my business eligible for Green BELLE?
The Green BELLE grant and support is available to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The EU definition1 of an SME is a business that:
- Has fewer than 250 employees
- Has an annual turnover that does not exceed €50 million or annual balance sheet that does not exceed €43 million
- Is not more than 25% owned by an enterprise that is not itself an SME
SMEs must also:
- Be located within Leicester or Leicestershire
- Be trading in a sector that is eligible for ERDF funding (see ‘Which business sectors are ineligible?’)
- Which business sectors are ineligible?
Eligibility is determined by ERDF requirements.
Businesses in certain business sectors are ineligible for the Green BELLE grant including charities, banking and finance, local welfare facilities and agriculture.
If your business is not eligible for Green BELLE, please visit the LLEP Business Gateway website, which contains details of other business support in Leicester and Leicestershire: www.llepbizgateway.co.uk.
If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact the Green BELLE team using the contact form or details on our Contact Us page.
- What can be funded through Green BELLE?
The aim of Green BELLE is to support SMEs to increase their energy efficiency, support the move to a low carbon economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Green BELLE grants are for the installation of low carbon and energy efficient measures.
The grant panel are more likely to support measures that provide greater carbon savings, and innovative measures are encouraged.
Below are examples of measures that could be funded through Green BELLE:
- Lighting Controls
- Heating Controls
- Energy Efficient Machinery e.g. Air Compressors
- Solar Panels
- Heat Pumps
- Biomass Boilers
- Energy Storage
- Building Energy Management Systems
This is not necessarily a full list, and the Green BELLE Grant Panel will consider other measures that can be shown to save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Green BELLE can also support multiple energy efficiency measures, up to the maximum grant amount.
We cannot guarantee that all measures will be eligible for all businesses. The measures your business can apply for a grant to fit will depend on your premises and their energy use.
For more information on eligible measures, please visit the Potential Measures page.
- Are there any measures that are ineligible through Green BELLE?
There are a number of measures that are ineligible for Green BELLE, either due to the remit of the project, or ERDF criteria. Ineligible measures include the following:
- Computers / laptops
- Transport related measures, for example, electric cars and charging points
- Boiler repairs
- Installation of smart meters
- Landlord obligations
Please note that this is not a complete list of ineligible measures, other measures may also be ineligible in certain businesses.
- Does my business need to own its premises?
No, but you must be able to obtain permission from your landlord in order to be able to have the works carried out. In some cases your rental contract may also allow you to make the proposed changes without formal approval. Please make sure you have checked whether or not permission is required, and that you have received it if necessary, before submitting an application.
- How do I register my interest in Green BELLE?
For general enquiries:
If your business is interested in improving its energy efficiency, but is not sure where to start, please contact the Green BELLE team using the form on the Contact Us page.
A Project Officer will then be in contact and a site visit can be arranged for your premises, which will allow potential energy efficient measures to be explored.
For grant applications:
Your business can also register your interest in Green BELLE by completing an Expression of Interest form.
This form will allow you to include details of your proposed energy efficient measure(s). A Project Officer will then be in touch to arrange a site visit after this has been submitted.
An Expression of Interest form can be completed online at the Apply Now page.
- How much grant is available?
A grant of £1,000 – £7,000 can be applied for. The ERDF grant will cover up to 50% of the project cost, and the remaining amount will need to be match funded by your business.
There is no upper limit to the total project cost, but the maximum grant available is £7,000. For example, you could submit an application for a project with a total value of £35,000, however the Green BELLE grant would be fixed at a maximum of £7,000.
Only one grant can be awarded per business throughout the lifetime of the Green BELLE project. Involvement in previous ERDF projects does not exclude you from applying for Green BELLE, as long as no more than €200,000 of state aid has been received within the past three rolling years. However, we cannot provide a grant to SMEs that have already received a Green BELLE grant previously.
All grants are calculated excluding VAT.
- How do I apply for the grant?
The easiest way to apply for a Green BELLE grant is to submit an Expression of Interest form from the Apply Now page, and a Project Officer will contact you to arrange a site visit. If you have any questions you’d like to ask before submitting this form, you can also contact the Green BELLE team using the contact form, or contact details on the Contact Us page.
Your application will then be assessed by the Project Officer and, if approved, they will invite you to submit a Full Application form.
The Full Application form requires further details about your premises, and will outline the full project details and any supporting documents that are required, including three quotations for the proposed measure.
The full application will be reviewed by the Green BELLE Grant Panel and the outcome will be sent to you in writing.
Your designated Project Officer can be contacted at any stage for advice.
- How many quotations will I need?
You must provide three comparable quotations for the works. Providers must all be given the same specification for the works to be quoted for.
While the specification must be the same for all providers, it is expected that there will be some variations in the quotations, such as the brand or exact model of the measure that is being installed.
SMEs are required to gather their own quotations. Green BELLE is unable to provide suggestions for suppliers to request quotations from, and does not have a list of potential providers.
- Can I choose which measure to install through Green BELLE?
Yes, you can choose which measure you apply for. The Project Officer will provide guidance on suitable measures. The Expression of Interest form, on the Apply Now page, will ask you for an outline of the energy efficient measure(s), and if this doesn’t fit within the remit of Green BELLE, the Project Officer will be in touch with you to discuss this. The Grant Panel will make the final decision on the grant application.
- Can I choose the provider to install the measure?
If you have a preferred provider, this should be stated on the application form (in the ‘Any Comments’ section of the quotations table) alongside a justification for the choice. This will be taken into consideration by the Grant Panel. However, it is not guaranteed that your preferred provider will be chosen.
The Grant Panel will consider the quotations and will make the final decision on the chosen provider, based on a variety of criteria. This decision is final, and SMEs must use the chosen provider if they wish to go forwards with the project using a Green BELLE grant.
- How long do I have to install the measures, once the application is approved?
We understand that installation periods have differing lengths of time, and some measures are more difficult to install during a working week.
It is a condition of the Grant Agreement that the measures are installed within six months of the date of Grant Approval, unless the Green BELLE team is informed of a reasonable explanation for the delay. Please keep your Project Officer up-to-date and inform them of any delays with the installation.
- How should I pay the contractor?
In order to be able to pay the grant amount, the Green BELLE team will require evidence that the contractor has been paid in full for the completed works.
Businesses are usually expected to pay their contractor using their own funds. If your business is looking to use a loan or hire-purchase agreement please discuss this with your Project Officer before your grant is approved, as certain funding mechanisms are not compatible with a Green BELLE grant. If your business uses an incompatible financing tool there is a risk that the business will lose its grant.
- What evidence will be required to claim for the agreed grant amount?
The agreed grant amount will only be paid to the SME on satisfactory receipt of the requested evidence, which will show completed installation and payment (defrayal). The following evidence will be required:
- Confirmation that installation of the measure is complete
- Such as a signed letter accompanied with a photograph, or a site visit from a Project Officer.
- The Project Officer will arrange this after installation has been completed.
- Original invoice from the provider
- This should state the measure installed and can only be accepted if the total invoice amount is the same as on the quotation which was approved by the Grant Panel.
- Evidence to confirm that the providers invoice has been paid and left the bank account (defrayal)
- This should include a bank statement which clearly shows the providers name, the exact invoice amount (as stated on the chosen quotation) and the date that it left the bank account.
- Confirmation of payment is referred to as defrayal and the bank statement is used to evidence this only. This information will not be shared.
- Commitment that energy bills will be sent for the 12 month period before and after installation, where required.
The above information is required from each SME, unless they are specifically informed otherwise by a Project Officer.
- Confirmation that installation of the measure is complete
- How will the grant be paid to me?
If your application is approved by the Grant Panel, you will receive written confirmation. It will then be your responsibility (the SME) to organise for the installation to be carried out. You will pay the provider and will submit payment evidence to your Project Officer.
Your business will have to be set up on Leicester City Council’s payment system and certain details will be required, for example confirmation of your bank details.
Once in satisfactory receipt of the payment evidence, the grant amount will be paid by BACS within 30 days, as per Leicester City Council’s payment terms.
- Why do I have to pay for the measures upfront before the grant is paid?
ERDF funding requires SMEs to pay for capital measures upfront and then be reimbursed for the approved grant amount. This is to ensure that the grant is being used for the approved energy efficient measure and will therefore work towards reducing the carbon emissions of your business.
This method will also ensure that all necessary information is submitted to the Green BELLE team for auditing purposes. This will minimise the risk of grants having to be paid back if the correct information is not disclosed, or the Grant Agreement conditions are not met.
- How long will the application take to be evaluated by the grant panel?
Grant applications will either be assessed by the Grant Panel electronically or at an organised Grant Panel meeting. Grant Panel meetings are held every six to eight weeks and therefore the result of your application will be sent out after the next meeting.
Your Project Officer will advise you when the application will be submitted to the Grant Panel for evaluation.
- What is the grant application deadline?
The grant application deadline is July 2022. However, there are a finite number of grants available. There is therefore no guarantee that grants will be available up until this deadline. If you are interested in a grant, it is recommended that you apply for the grant sooner rather than later so you don’t miss out.
- What about Brexit?
The UK Government has confirmed that it will guarantee funding for European Union funded projects after the UK leaves the European Union2 3. This means that Green BELLE is not at risk of losing funding and the UK’s exit from the European Union will not affect Green BELLE.
- What is ERDF?
ERDF stands for the European Regional Development Fund. It is one of the main EU funding programmes, and provides money for a wide variety of projects.
It aims to assist EU member states to improve their economies, through innovation, sustainability and increased employment.
Green BELLE is funded through the Priority Axis 4 section of Leicester and Leicestershire’s allocation of ERDF money. This aims to reduce carbon emissions in SMEs.
For more information about ERDF funding in Leicester and Leicestershire, please visit the LLEP website: https://www.llep.org.uk/funding/esif-calls/erdf/