The fund aims to enable applicants to secure a low-interest rate loan from a financier for implementation-ready, community renewable energy projects. The grants work as a cash security against loans to be repaid within a 5-year period.
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$5:$1 (SV:Applicant) Co-contributions can be either financial (cash) or In-kind. Up to 100% of the contribution can be In-kind.
Sustainability Victoria is supporting community groups through the Sustainable Finance Mechanism – Repayable Grants, established under the Social Impact Investment for Sustainability Fund. The fund aims to enable applicants to secure a low-interest rate loan from a financier for implementation-ready, community renewable energy projects. The grants work as a cash security against loans to be repaid within a 5-year period.
Applications can be submitted from 3 November 2021 until funds have been exhausted. The $1 million has been allocated for these grants as part of the $5.93 million Community Power Hubs Program, which is within the Victorian Government’s $1.6 billion renewable energy package in the 2020-2021 Budget.
The following are the guidelines for applying for this fund.
Find out more in the Information bulletin.
The fund aims to achieve the following outcomes:
Grants of at least $50,000 are available for community groups to help secure a loan of the same value from a financier of choice. The grant will work as a cash security against the loan. The grant is to be repaid to Sustainability Victoria at the same time the loan is repaid to the financier, within 5 years.
Co-contribution from the Applicant is required. A minimum of $1 must be provided by the applicant for every $5 in grant funding. This co-contribution can be either financial (cash) or in-kind. Up to 100% of the contribution can be in-kind and funding from other grant programs can be included towards the contribution.
To be eligible to receive funding, grant applicants need to:
We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and also co-operatives registered in Victoria.
Sustainability Victoria manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one grant for a project, you will only be eligible to receive one grant. If you’ve already applied for a Sustainability Victoria grant and now find this grant to be more relevant or suitable, you can withdraw your application by emailing us.
The repayable grant will act as a cash security against a loan to support community energy projects that:
Project activities and costs the loan may fund include:
You can submit multiple applications. Each application must be for a different project. A project can have multiple buildings/sites.
The following projects are ineligible:
The following project costs are ineligible:
The assessment panel will assess the application based on merit according to the criteria below.
Describe what you are going to do and how the project meets Sustainability Victoria’s project/business plan objectives including demonstrating what you expect the project to achieve in terms of:
Demonstrate how the Lead Applicant and project partners have the ability to deliver the project, including capability (skills) and capacity (resources).
Describe how the project meets the need or problem.
How does the project align with and deliver economic, environmental and social objectives in your community?
Why do you need the Community Power Hub and government assistance for the project to be delivered?
Describe how the project will be delivered.
Describe how the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered, including:
Sustainability Victoria may overlay rankings to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent a geographical spread across Victorian regions.
A risk-based approach will be used to assess the Applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the Applicant’s related entities and may include Project Partners and/or Project Participants (see Section 9: Program definitions).
Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Partners and/or Project Participants) must:
Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to Sustainability Victoria’s consideration of:
Sustainability Victoria may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners and/or Project Participants involved in the delivery of the project. The Applicant must ensure that any Project Partners and/or Project Participants agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at Sustainability Victoria’s request.
Sustainability Victoria reserves the right not to award funding to Applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Partners and Projects Participants) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.
Successful applicants approved for funding must do the following.
Dates may change.
There is no date for the announcement of application outcomes. We will provide applicants with updates as often as possible and when necessary.
Applications open: Wednesday 3 November 2021
Applications close: When funds are exhausted
Notification of outcome: On-going
Funding agreements established: On-going
Projects commenced by: After execution of funding agreement
Project completed by: 12 months after execution of funding agreement
The Sustainable Finance Mechanism (repayable grant) is to be repaid to your financier (and Sustainability Victoria) within 5 years.
Before applying, consult with the Community Power Hub in your region and receive their support and endorsement of your proposed project.
Tips for using SmartyGrants
We cannot review or provide feedback on draft proposals.
Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
In the subject line, use the grant name Community Power Hub: Sustainable Finance Mechanism Repayable Grants
This funding is released as part of the Victorian Government’s $1.6 billion renewable energy package, including $5.93 million allocated for the establishment and coordination of the Community Power Hubs program.
Recommendation 4 of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into community energy projects (2017) proposed introducing a loan to support the delivery of implementation-ready projects, enabling applicants of community projects to secure a low-interest rate loan from a financier. Through these repayable grants, Sustainability Victoria will support community groups seeking third-party financing for the delivery of community energy projects.
This funding will target projects that come out of the planning and development activities from the 7 Community Power Hubs. The grants will address barriers to accessing low-interest financing faced by community groups who would otherwise not be able to secure a project loan at a low-cost to make their project viable.
As the grants will be returned over time, the funds can be recommitted to extend the benefit of public funds and further leverage private finance for community-based net zero carbon investments.
The applicant who applies for the funding and is responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.
Technology related to renewable energy, energy efficiency or storage of renewable energy.
The Applicant’s required cash or in-kind contribution to the total project income.
Community Energy Project
A project in which a community (of geography and/or of interest) is involved in initiating, developing, owning, operating and/or benefiting from renewable energy and energy efficiency development. Crucially, a community is involved in both the process of establishing the project, as well as benefiting from its outcomes. Common benefits from community energy projects include reduced electricity costs, increased energy self-reliance, income generation and increased knowledge and awareness of renewable energy.
Actual new full-time positions created by your business. This can include training or upskilling of employees who would otherwise be made redundant through the implementation of your project.
Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breach
An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and workplace laws.
Environmental and Safety Laws
Environmental and safety laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 2017 or any other legislation, regulation, order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.
Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE)
The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.
The calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working the following - 40, 40 and 20 hours per week, giving you 100 hours per week in total.
Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.
Implementation Ready Project
A community renewable energy project that has completed all necessary feasibility and/or business cases and has obtained all the necessary approvals. Projects need to be commissioned and operational within 12 months of signing the funding agreement.
An in-kind contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than cash.
In-kind contributions should include the cost for activities that are directly related to delivering your project. Examples include:
The following activities cannot be considered as in-kind contributions:
Applicants must fairly justify how they determined the dollar value for in-kind contributions.
The lead applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations under the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding. The lead applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables.
An organisation that provides services to the community and does not operate to make a profit for its members (or shareholders, if applicable).
An organisation engaged by the applicant to assist in the delivery of the applicant’s project, including but not limited to major subcontractors, contractors, product suppliers and consultants.
An organisation/s in a collaborative partnership with a lead applicant that have a critical role in the project and a formal commitment to delivering the support required to ensure the project’s success.
Entities which are related to the applicant, including:
Related person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the applicant or a related entity.
Energy that is produced using natural resources that are constantly replaced and never run out.
Unproven or emerging technologies
Technology that requires legislative changes or further research and development in order to be implemented.
Workplace laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.
Phone 03 8656 6757 Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
When emailingIn the subject line, use the grant name: Sustainable Finance Mechanism – Repayable Grants.