A growing number of environmentally minded people are putting their money where their mouths are and directly investing in projects such as solar and wind farms, thanks to a rise in community-based financing schemes such as crowdfunding and renewable energy cooperatives.
‘People have an increased need for alternative investment and that’s what leads them there,’ said Nuno Brito Jorge, chief executive of Portuguese renewable energy company Boa Energia. ‘But they also want to know they are doing something good with their own money.’
Thomas Maidonis, from WIP Renewable Energies in Germany and coordinator of another EU-funded project, CrowdFundRES, says that there are huge differences across the EU when it comes to the popularity of crowdfunding.
‘The UK is the most developed and the most mature (market). It counts for more than 80 % of the crowdfunding amounts (across) Europe, and then France, Germany and the Netherlands follow. It is getting spread little by little to other countries. We really believe that this will change in the coming years.’
CrowdFundRES is looking at ways of increasing this type of financing, focusing particularly on legal and regulatory challenges. The lack of harmonisation which limits cross-border investment is one issue they’re investigating. Another is the fact that some national regulators have ceilings on the amount of money that can be crowdfunded – usually lower than a sustainable energy project would need.
The project has produced guidelines for founders of crowdfunding platforms and sustainable energy project developers to facilitate better understanding and decision-making, and a guide setting out what investors should know before getting involved is also under development.
Read the entire article on Horizon Magazine.