Abundance launches Europe's largest crowd-funded solar project

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Solar aficionados are being sought in Scotland by London-based crowdfunder Abundance, which is looking for backers for Europe’s largest solar crowd-funded solar project to date.

The funding target for the Oakapple Berwickshire scheme is £3.1 million ($4.9 million), and investors are invited to pledge as little as £5 for a stake in the project. The internal rate of return (IRR) is estimated to be 7.5% over the 20-year term of the project, which will see 749 solar PV systems installed across rooftops in locations across the Scottish county of Berwickshire.

Interest is payable monthly in arrears, and the first payments will be due once the minimum £500,000 investment threshold is reached.

Combined, the project will add 2.6 MW of PV capacity to the region and will help lower electricity bills for Berwickshire Housing Association tenants living in Duns, Eyemouth and Coldstream by as much as 30% – all at no cost.

The installation will be carried out by Oakapple Renewable Energy and Edison Energy, and follows on from a previously successful Abundance-backed project last year that raised more than $700,000.

"This is a perfect opportunity for savers with more than £1 trillion earning virtually nothing in cash savings accounts to move some of their money to something far more worthwhile and good for the U.K., while getting an attractive, bank-beating return at low risk," said Abundance’s co-founder and joint MD Bruce Davis.

"Recent research revealed that 62% of people in Britain want to choose exactly where their money is going to get a return and 57% want to invest in things that give a decent return and don’t harm the planet."

The success of Abundance, and similar crowdfunding platforms such as Netherlands-based WeShareSolar, suggests that this type of funding model can thrive in Europe. In the U.S., crowdfunded solar projects have captured the public’s imagination, offering investors a safe return on their cash and the chance to play a part in bringing solar power to more and more households and small businesses.