Crowdfunding now exists and is growing in the European Union, with 22 Member States having World Wide Web based crowdfunding platforms in 2015 (EC, 2016). At the end of 2014, 502 platforms were active, with over half of them located in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. An estimated EUR 4.2 billion was raised through crowdfunding platforms in Europe in 2015, with EUR 4.1 billion of these funds raised with an anticipation of financial return.
At the same time as crowdfunding has expanded and become better known throughout the European Union, the renewable energy industry has been in transition with some Member States providing diminished incentives or subsidies as well as less administrative and policy support for deployment of new energy projects (EUPRS, 2016). In addition, the conventional banking system had demonstrated a lack of interest to engage and lend to smaller scale renewable energy projects.
The potential for crowdfunding to match interested private direct investors with renewable energy project developers is significant. However, a relatively minor amount of experience in matching these two interest together has occurred to date. CrowdFundRES is examining this relationship and how crowdfunding platforms can facilitate a growing amount of private direct investment into the European renewables industry.
One of the most common characteristics of persons who participate, or consider participating, in crowdfunding is the desire to invest their wealth in a socially responsible manner. In the CrowdFundRES report summarising the findings of our survey of EU Citizens from the first phase of the project the second most important characteristic for investing was the “sustainability impact” of the investment (Bergmann et al., 2016). A majority of these same respondents also stated the model of investment, expected rate of return, technology type and stage of project development were important to their investment decision-making.
Please, download the report here, on CrowdFundRES Results page.