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Energy crowdfunding: the new way to boost renewables

Millions of euros have been crowdfunded in four years to finance small and medium renewable energy projects. And there is still potential to be developed

It's a brand new sector: the first steps date back to 2012. Today energy crowdfunding is a way of financing solar panel or wind turbine projects. For some people, like Andrew Yakub, founder of a US solar manufacturing company, it will save the planet.

There is already a big annual conference dedicated to the sector, and a European association that brings together the platforms involved in renewable energy.

In March 2016, when one of the few researches in this field was published, there were 29 active platforms worldwide and 13 in the pipeline. The author is Chiara Candelise, an Italian researcher at Bocconi University and London Imperial College. She is also co-founder of the platform Ecomill. It is the first energy crowdfunding project in Italy authorised by the regulatory authority, but not yet operational.

The study has found that the majority (8) of the active platforms are in the USA, followed by Germany (6), the United Kingdom (5) and the Netherlands (4). The three European countries were the first to operate in the sector, some four years ago.

The British groups have been the most active so far. Abundance, for instance, raised £17.7 million across 17 projects, returning 1.47 million pounds to investors. Three other ongoing projects are being financed with more than £800,000 so far. The platform is also part of the European project CrowdFundRES, which aims to unleash the potential of crowdfunding for financing renewable energy projects.


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