Funding competition SBRI: Perth Smart Energy Network project

Organisations can apply for a share of £150,000, including VAT, to develop a smart, flexible energy system in the estate of Perth and Kinross council.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. The aim of the competition is to develop a smart, flexible energy system in the various sites of the estate of Perth and Kinross council (PKC). For example, this could involve generating energy at a school and receiving, storing and using that energy at a care home.

This system will work inside the estate to manage and control:

  • the generation of renewable energy
  • its storage and use
  • the trade of excess energy inside and outside of the PKC estate

Smart systems are a new development in energy management that offer great potential. We want to find solutions that use innovative technologies and processes to deliver a functional pilot smart energy network.

If generated renewable energy could be traded between council sites as part of a smart energy network, it would enable the council to optimise energy generation, storage and usage across its estate. This would reduce the overall energy costs and carbon emissions of the council.

This competition is being supported by the Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund.

We plan to deliver the overall programme over 2 phases. This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2.

The first phase involves research and development contracts being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. A total of up to £150,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 1 of the competition.

The second phase involves up to 2 R&D contracts being awarded to businesses chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants.

Funding type


Project size

We expect projects to range in size up to total costs of £30,000, including VAT, for each organisation. Projects must start by 31 January 2019 and can last up to 6 months.

Who can apply

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, the research base or the third sector as subcontractors

You must:

  • be able to test your solution in the Perth and Kinross area of Scotland
  • have a clear plan for commercialising the proposed solution


A total of up to £150,000, including VAT, is allocated to phase 1. At least 50% of the contract value should be attributed directly and exclusively for R&D services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to develop a smart, flexible energy system within the various sites of the Perth and Kinross council (PKC) estate. It has to be cost effective and demonstrate tangible benefits for the council. We welcome bids that bring together a consortium of sector specialists to provide a solution. The project programme will be delivered over 2 phases.

The council is looking for R&D of new innovative solutions. This system will manage and control the generation, storage, use and trade of renewable energy in (and outside) the council estate. Crucially it will be required to trade energy between council sites (and outside of the council) so that the council can optimise energy generation and usage across its estate.

The objectives are to:

  • reduce energy costs
  • reduce carbon emissions
  • explore new income streams by using energy storage assets

Main solution requirements

Your solution must:

  • develop local renewable energy generation capacity, which could come from a variety of sources
  • develop local energy storage capacity, which could be of a number of types and configurations
  • develop an energy management platform to manage the flow of generated, stored and used energy and initiate and record energy trades
  • have the ability to effectively communicate with and control all of the network’s generation and storage nodes
  • be able to trade energy between the nodes of the network
  • investigate and develop potential income streams from the sale of grid services of the deployed battery storage system

Main outputs

Your project must produce:

  • a detailed design package including the technical specification of the proposed solution
  • a commercial specification of the full investment required, including equipment costs, installation and yearly maintenance costs, and a project plan for the phase 2 solution delivery

Phase 1: feasibility study

This should result in a technical, financial and commercial specification and detailed design solution.

R&D contracts will be awarded up to £30,000 to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution.

We expect to fund up to 5 projects. The assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation.

Phase 2: prototype development and testing

This should result in installation in the PKC estate. 2 projects, chosen from successful applicants to phase 1, will receive up to £175,000 each. This will be to develop a prototype and undertake field testing for up to 18 months.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that are excessively expensive or high in maintenance and consumables.

20 August 2018
Competition opens
28 August 2018
Briefing event slides.
10 October 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
17 October 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
21 December 2018
Applicants notified
1 January 2019
Phase 1 contracts awarded.
1 January 2019
Feedback provided.

Before you start

To apply:

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A selected panel of experts will assess the quality of your application.
Only use Microsoft Word for the application form. If the application cannot be read in Microsoft Word, it will be ineligible.

Background and further information

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Further help and information

You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.

Questions related to the particular requirements of this competition should be addressed directly to

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

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