Green investment specialists unite for social housing solar scheme
Ecology Building Society has invested £250,000 into crowdfunding site Abundance as part of a new partnership to extend support for UK renewable energy projects.
Ecology has selected the Oakapple Berwickshire solar project for its first investment; with 749 roof-mounted solar panels set to provide 2595kW of electricity to homes in the local area.
"It's a great fit for us as it addresses our members' desire to tackle fuel poverty, support social housing and add to the UK's growing renewables capacity," said Ecology Building Society chief executive Paul Ellis.
"We believe that investing via crowdfunding platforms allows institutions to stand alongside individual investors, and amplify the impact of their investments in a diverse funding package. We have been impressed by the rigour of Abundance's underwriting, and expect to develop our relationship further."
Ecology's investment in this project will produce an effective rate of return of 7.5%, paid twice yearly to investors as cash payments over the 20-year term of the solar project. Ecology Building Society will invest on equal terms alongside the individual Abundance investors who invest from just £5 in each project.
Meanwhile, Berwickshire Housing Association tenants living in the homes on which the solar panels are installed will enjoy a substantial drop in their energy bills - up to as much as a Oakapple Berwickshire to more than £1.5 million, well past the minimum raise of £500,000. The target total raise remains £3.1 million 30% reduction - without having to pay anything towards the project.
Abundance co-founder and joint managing director Bruce Davis said Oakapple Berwickshire is a perfect example of the Abundance mission in action; offering a low risk investment that pays an attractive return to investors, but also has wider positive outcomes.
"We hope this collaboration will help shape the future of ethical finance for the next 30 years," Davis said.
Today's announcement takes the total investment in the Oakapple Berwickshire solar project to more than £1.5m - well past the minimum raise of £500,000. The target total remains at £3.1m, which would make it Europe's largest crowd-funded solar project to date.