Local councils are turning to wider communities to fund new renewable projects. The idea is like crowd funding; the community can use a platform called Abundance to donate as little or as much as they can towards a project in their area that could benefit the entire community.
Swindon Council is the first to use Abundance, which allows people to buy debentures (similar to bonds) and they get a return on their investment on a regular basis. This kind of platform allows these projects to go ahead more easily and means that the local people benefit from not only their investment, but the clean energy produced.
Swindon council have encouraged crowd funding in the area and have managed to build 2 new solar farms with the help of investors and have themselves donated money towards the projects. These solar farms now generate enough energy for around 1,200 homes, and residents benefit from the reduced carbon emissions, cleaner energy and those that invested, benefit from the returns.
Other councils are now interested in following in Swindon Councils’ footsteps. Councils are keen to get these projects moving and it has become obvious that the public are supporting of the renewable sector and tackling climate change. Why not get them involved in the process and give them the opportunity to invest?
Councils are up against yet more cuts to funding which have been happening since 2010. This leaves not only the vulnerable and local services at risk, but also the funding for renewable projects. This makes crowdfunding in this way, even more important for the future of these projects and the overall cutting of carbon emission in local communities. But other services remain at risk from the cuts. It is suggested that one in seven elderly people live with inadequate care or support.
And crowdfunding is not only being used in renewables but also to revamp tired and rundown areas. Brighton was one of those councils that have launched a crowdfunding campaign after losing out on government funding. Many other councils are doing the same and using their initiative when it comes to restoring the beauty of their towns and community. This approach uses the power of the people coming together to make their communities better for everyone.
Bruce Davis, founder and Managing Director of Abundance Investment, approached
“a number of councils about expanding the role of crowdfunding to a range of social infrastructure projects which would allow the community to invest directly in their local quality of life, economy and environment”.