First Minister announces help with energy bills while visiting Lewis home

Alex Salmond with the Smith family.
Alex Salmond with the Smith family.

A further £4 million for the Home Renewables Loan Scheme to help householders cut their energy bills was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond when he visited a Lewis family yesterday (Wednesday).

The scheme gives individuals access to interest free loans of up to £10,000 for a range of renewable heat and electricity home technologies. Since April 2011, it has helped reduce dependency on fossil fuels and has allowed householders across Scotland access to cleaner, greener energy.

The First Minister made the announcement while visiting the Western Isles as part of a series of travelling cabinets.

Mr Salmond visited the Smith family home in Ballantrushal which is one of 53 homes in the Western Isles which has benefitted from a Home Renewables Loan. During the visit the First Minister, said:

“Scotland is going greener and the wide take up of small scale renewables appliances in households will be vital for us to become a truly low carbon economy. There has never been a better time to save energy and go green.

“Since April 2011, more than 1,188 loans have been issued to householders across Scotland and in particular more than 53 loans across the Western Isles, islanders are clearly leading the charge in choosing efficient green energy.

“I am delighted to allocate further funding of £4 million to this successful interest free loans scheme, so that even more Scots like the Smith family can reap the benefits of low carbon technologies, cut energy bills and emissions, support jobs and the local economy.”

The scheme is delivered by the Energy Saving Trust and Mike Thornton, Director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland, said:

“We very much welcome the extension of the Home Energy Scotland Renewables Loan scheme which, by helping with the up-front cost of installing a renewable energy system, is supporting homeowners across Scotland to move to renewable energy sources and save money on their fuel bills. Since April 2011, households that have received a loan will make total savings and income of over £12 million; figures like these mean we expect many more to take up this Scottish Government loan and reap the benefits of a home renewables system.”

Mrs Smith from Ballantrushal on the Isle of Lewis has benefitted from a Home Renewables Loan, she said:

“By installing an air source heat pump in our home, alongside a 5Kw wind turbine, it has enabled us to reduce our utility bills by approximately two thirds. The Energy Saving Scotland Home Renewables Loan Scheme was paramount in us being able to afford the new system in that it is payable over 8 years and is interest free.”