A CUMBRIAN renewables firm is offering grants to defray the cost of commercial solar installations.

Total Power, based at Kingmoor Business Park, Carlisle, has been accredited by the Carbon Trust - an international body that aims to speed up the creation of a carbon-free economy.

This accreditation means the firm can offer SMEs a grant of up to 30 per cent towards installation costs.

Laura Waters, managing director, said: "Solar is not dead. Domestically there are no grants available but in commercial terms it is time to invest.

"Our first Carbon Trust installation was installed last month on a farm on the outskirts of Carlisle. Our customer has received a grant of £7,000 towards his installation."

She added that the installation would pay for itself in five years and give a 22.5 per cent annual return.

Miss Waters said that grants were being allocated on a first-come first-served basis.