Building Your Business
Interest free energy efficiency loans in Northern Ireland

29 April 2016

One of the main barriers to businesses implementing energy efficiency or renewable energy projects is the availability of finance. The Carbon Trust, with funds provided by Invest NI, can help to overcome that hurdle by providing interest free, unsecured loans from £3,000 to £400,000.

Key features of the loans

  • Interest free and unsecured
  • Borrow from £3,000 to £400,000
  • Loans are designed such that in most cases the monthly energy savings should exceed the monthly repayments1
  • No set-up or administration fees


Note that loans repayments will still need to be made, regardless of whether the projected savings are actually achieved.


Interest free loans may be available to businesses meeting the following criteria

Private sector business in Northern Ireland

Business has been trading for the minimum period (Limited company 12 months, Unincorporated 36 months)

Business has an acceptable credit history

Project replaces existing equipment, and makes on-site fossil fuel savings

Business operates in a permissible sector under de minimis state aid regulations, and has not exceeded current limits*



* EU rules on state aid mean we are not normally able to offer business loans for the acquisition or adaptation of vehicles, to organisations involved in primary production of agricultural products (which includes horticulture, dairy, wine-making – click here for the full list), the fisheries and aquaculture sector, or for export-related activities.  

A wide range of energy efficiency or renewable energy projects can be considered for an interest free loan, providing they meet the on-site fossil fuel use saving requirement. Examples of just some of the projects which could qualify include the following:

Building Technologies

Air conditioning
Building insulation
Heating controls
Heat recovery
Pipe insulation
Solar thermal systems

Industrial Process Technologies

Compressed air
Materials handling
Process heating
Process controls
Variable speed drives


Air and ground source heat pumps
Solar PV
Solar thermal
Wind turbines
Hydro electricity


How much can be borrowed?

Business loans are available from £3,000 - £400,000. The size of the loan will be based on the projected CO2 savings of a project and for every 1.5 tCO2 your project is expected to save per annum we can provide finance of £1,000.  The projected CO2 savings will be independently assessed by the Carbon Trust.  

Loans are designed such that in most cases the monthly energy cost savings should exceed the monthly repayments. Loans are repaid over 1 to 4 years in line with project payback periods.

To see how much you could potentially borrow, try our Loan Calculator (excel).

Multiple loans are available up to the maximum loan amount.

Representative example of a 0% APR loan: £12,000 loan over 48 months = monthly repayments of £250. Total repayable £12,000.”


Case studies

See what our customers have to say about the interest free loan scheme.

Without support from the Carbon Trust, this project would not have gone ahead. The benefits for Beverage Plastics include a reduction in energy required in the production process, a reduction in energy needed per kilogram of plastic processed to meet climate change levy targets, a reduction in maintenance costs, and an increase in productivity per operator.

Mark Brennan, Beverage Plastics limited



How to apply

Before you apply:


Check eligibility

  • Check if your organisation is eligible to apply
  • Check if your project qualifies


Before applying, please read these step-by-step guides


Before completing the online application form, please collect all documents in the ‘What we need’ checklist, and also complete the following:

Click here to apply online 

If you haven’t yet ed an equipment supplier for your project, try our Green Business Directory for a list of accredited suppliers working in your area. Please note that it is your responsibility to select and be satisfied with a supplier’s expertise, standing, reliability and competence. We also suggest that you seek a variety of quotes from different suppliers from which to select the most appropriate offer.


Get in touch 

If you have any questions please get in touch by emailing or call 028 9073 4398. 

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