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Abundance launches first solar offer as wind project gets back on track

Green finance news – by GreenWise staff
24th July 2012
Abundance Generation, the new online renewable energy finance platform that enables individuals to invest as little as £5, is launching its first solar offer for UK small investors.
The FSA-regulated investment platform has also re-opened investment in its first renewable energy project, a community wind turbine in the Forest of Dean that was hit by problems earlier this year.

Abundance Generation said it was in the final stages of writing the offer document for its first solar project, a residential 'free’ solar scheme. It has teamed up with Padero Solar on the photovoltaic project looking to raise between £500,000 and £2 million to install between 0.23 megawatts (MW) and 1.34 MW of generation capacity across the South Downs. 
Investors are already being invited to 'pledge’ to the solar scheme using Abundance’s unique debenture investment model, which is an official IOU that anyone in the UK over 18 and with a bank account can buy for as little as £5. Abundance director Bruce Davis said investors could expect an average return on investment of seven per cent over the life of the project, which will benefit from the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) renewable electricity generation subsidy.

'Free solar’ schemes, which cost nothing to the customer to install or maintain but pay the investor the FiT return, have been hit hard by Government cuts to the FiT, but Davis told GreenWise: "With the price of solar coming down, free solar is still an attractive investment opportunity."

Offer suspended
In April, Abundance Generation was forced to suspend its first offer, the Resilient Energy Great Dunkilns (REGD) project in the Forest of Dean, when the German wind turbine supplier to the community wind project became insolvent. Abundance said PowerWind GmbH had now completed a restructuring and REGD had "taken ownership of a finished turbine". The project is currently under construction and is due to be operational by September.

Davis said most of the original investors in REGD were back on board and the relaunched offer had so far raised over £170,000. 

"With the wind turbine supplier issues now sorted, it is very satisfying to reopen investment on this project as so many of the people who first wanted to invest have remained supportive and stayed with us and can now proceed," he said.

REGD is looking to raise £1.3 million and investors can expect to receive a rate of return of between 6.75 per cent and eight per cent based on a share of the profits produced by selling renewable energy, according to Abundance. 

Moving forward
Davis said that despite the initial delay, Abundance was now "moving forward positively and at pace". The company is working with developer the Resilience Centre on four other community wind projects, three more in the Forest of Dean and one in Tidenham, Chepstow. All are currently awaiting planning permission.

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Abundance launches first solar offer as wind project gets back on track
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