Marks & Spencer has launched the second wave of the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund, offering up to £350,000 of funding to renewable energy projects around the UK.

The fund was originally launched in July 2015 to mark the company’s transition to 100% renewable energy in the UK.

Following the success of its first phase, which saw up to £400,000 awarded to 26 community energy projects, M&S Energy is making a second fund available to enable more communities in the UK to generate renewable energy and become environmentally and financially sustainable.

The cash is available to not for profit schemes that aim to provide benefits to a wider community. Past recipients of the funding include West Park Primary school, which became the first solar school in Hartlepool after receiving £40,000, and Just Around the Corner which supports disadvantaged young people in the Berkshire area.

This year’s fund will be open to projects requiring no more than £12,500, while an additional minimum pot of £20,000 will be distributed between the most inspiring projects.

Last year’s funding attracted 246 submissions before a shortlist of 132 projects was chosen after more than 51,000 public votes were registered.

Jonathan Hazeldine, head of M&S Energy, said: “We were absolutely delighted with the number of entries we received for the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund and it was brilliant to see communities coming together in support of renewable energy projects in their area.”

The 2016 applications opened yesterday and will remain so until 31 May. Shortlisted projects will then be announced and those with the most public support behind per region will secure their funding.