The CrowdFundRES partners expose the state of play and potential of crowdfunding in Europe
The European PV solar energy conference EU PVSEC was taking place at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam gathering a great number of relevant actors involved in the Solar sector to explore the current trends in solar technology and market deployment.
On this occasion, the CrowdFundRES consortium organised a final workshop “crowdfunding PV projects” which gathered more than 40 participants interested in the ins and outs of crowdfunding and its potential for the development of new RES projects.
The event was hosted by Pablo Alonso and Silvia Caneva (WIP Renewable Energies) who welcomed the participants. Pablo Alonso (WIP Renewable Energies) explained the frame of the CrowdFundRES project funded under the Horizon 2020 research programme. He presented the overall concept of crowdfunding and its results delivered by the partners since two years: surveys, case studies, analysis of the relevant regulatory framework, guidelines for project developers, for crowdfunding platforms, and for investors, and policy recommendations.
Oliver Gadja (ECN) explained then in details what crowdfunding is about, which are the leading countries, and what are the challenges at EU level, notably the issue of disparity of legislation and difficulties platforms face for being allowed to finance through crowdfunding a project located outside the country of residence of investors.
The session II was focused in the Crowdfunding Platforms perspectives. The platform partners in CrowdFundRES project, Robert Van Maaren (Abundance), Maarten De Jong (OnePlanetCrowd), and Alex Raguet (Lumo) showed participants how renewable projects got concretely funded thanks to crowdfunding. The fact that each country (UK, Netherlands, France) has its specificities raised questions, and notably on how to fund projects in different countries to the ones presented in the panel. The presentations were very much appreciate among the participants whom showed interest in the concept and surprised of the potential different conditions to fund a RES project. The solar park Torreilles project that Lumo and OnePlanetCrowd commonly crowdfunded shed a positive light on how to overcome barriers to cross-border crowdfunding.
The last session enabled a focus on concrete projects and opportunities in the Netherlands. Dennis De Jong (Holland Solar) explained how much solar development is linked to more empowerment of consumers and the local added-value of that source of energy. Projections of new capacity for solar are very positive in the Netherlands in the coming years. Crowdfunding can be a way to participate in this trend.
Roderick Van Wisselingh finally presented the business model developed by Solease: the leasing of solar panels. It allows any citizen to consume clean electricity self-produced on the roof without bearing the initial investment costs. They pay a fix amount monthly and benefit from the savings allowed by net-metering schemes in place in Holland. Such a progressive business model allowing any citizen to become a prosumer was allowed thanks to crowdfunding, and notably loans raised through the OnePlanetCrowd platform. It is worth-noticing that net-metering schemes are jeopardized by the upcoming revision of the EU energy legislation, as the Commission proposed to ban them. This recalls that consistent support policies for renewables are still at the heart of crowdfunded projects, and that policy makers need to take into account the policy recommendations developed by the actors of both sectors.
The workshop then came to an end with a networking cocktail in which the participants of the workshop were invited to share their thoughts and contacts.
All presentations are available for download below.
Session I – Welcome
- Agenda & Overview of the CrowdFundRES Project – Silvia Caneva and Pablo Alonso, CrowdFundRES Coordinators, WIP Renewable Energies
- Crowdfunding as alternative way for project financing – Oliver Gajda, Executive Director of ECN, European Crowdfunding Network
Session II – The Crowdfunding Platforms Perspectives
Selection of PV projects financed by crowdfunding:
- Abundance – Robert Van Maaren, Operations executive of the crowdfunding platform Abundance, United Kingdom
- Oneplanetcrowd – Maarten de Jong, Commercial director of the crowdfunding platform Oneplanetcrowd, The Netherlands
- Lumo – Alex Raguet, President of the crowdfunding platform Lumo, France
Session III – The point of view of Citizens, Policy Makers and Project Developers
- Crowdfunding fuels our growth – Roderick van Wisselingh, Solease, The Netherlands
- Solar energy for and by the people – Dennis de Jong, Holland Solar, The Netherlands & Managing Director Solar Century Benelux
- Overview on the legislation – Tanja Aschenbeck-Florange, Osborne Clarke, International legal practice
23 October 2017