Salix Finance's story
Salix Finance is a non-departmental public body, owned by Government and funded by the Welsh and Scottish governments, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education.
We started work in Wales in 2009 to offer government funding, in the form of interest free loans, to the public sector to help organisations improve their energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills.
Along with the funding we provide, we also offer support from an expert in-house team to encourage Welsh public sector organisations to progress towards a zero carbon Wales. Our approach is focused on working with clients on an on-going basis to help support and deliver on their long-term carbon management plans.
Ninety-four Welsh public sector bodies have taken up our loans. More than £74 million has been invested by our clients in energy efficiency projects which, over their lifetime, are expected to save in the region of £209 million.
One great example is Coryton Primary School in Cardiff, which used a £26,761 loan from Salix Finance to install a rooftop solar PV solution, saving around £3,375 a year. The energy produced from the project, which completed in January 2019, is being used to help meet the school's electricity demands. The production of electricity using renewable solar energy also reduces the school's reliance on the grid, providing a greener, more sustainable energy source. The school has seen a significant reduction in their requirement for electricity from the grid, estimated to save 6.74 tonnes of carbon annually and reduce both energy bills and the carbon footprint. The school is also using the project as an educational tool to teach students about the benefits of renewable energy, solar PV and electricity production.
We want to help even more organisations in Wales develop and deliver on their carbon management plans and are particularly keen on developing long lasting relationships as we can provide finance over several financial years. We take applications for projects which are already well defined, but also expressions of interest for projects which are in their concept stage where we can support the planning process.
Useful learnings from Salix Finance
For public sector organisations wanting to improve their energy efficiency, it's wise to share knowledge to see how you can learn from others. A good place to start is the Welsh Government Energy Service, which provides external expertise and resources to help you plan and push ahead with your ideas.
Early engagement with stakeholders is very important. Moving from concept stage to being submission ready is a challenge, so getting support early on from those in the know will help you move forward more quickly.
Do your prep – it's so important to know your planned outcomes and to have a structure in place which will help you measure success. This will help you in any application for funding because you are proving early on that your project is going to provide a good use of public money.
Finally, we offer a series of workshops enabling you to have your queries answered before applying for funding. We involve other partners in the workshops who can talk about how funding has helped their project get off the ground.
Salix Finance's metrics
We have an in-house carbon and energy technical team that assesses the viability of the projects that are submitted to us for loans. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of each project in terms of potential financial and carbon savings which enables us to forecast its viability.