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Bright future for crowdfunding renewable energy projects in Europe

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Crowdfunding renewable energy projects in Europe: a reality and bright perspectives

 

The CrowdFundRES partners talk about the state of play and potential of crowdfunding in Europe

 

The European PV solar energy conference EU PVSEC took place at the RAI Convention Centre in Amsterdam gathering a great number of relevant actors involved in the Solar sector to explore the current trends in solar technology and market deployment.

 

On this occasion, the CrowdFundRES consortium organised a final workshop “crowdfunding PV projects” which gathered more than 40 participants interested in the advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding and its potential for the development of new RES projects.

 

The event was hosted by Pablo Alonso and Silvia Caneva (WIP Renewable Energies) who welcomed the participants. Pablo Alonso (WIP Renewable Energies) explained the frame of the CrowdFundRES project funded under the Horizon 2020 research programme. He presented the overall concept of crowdfunding and its results delivered by the partners since two years: surveys, case studies, analysis of the relevant regulatory framework, guidelines for project developers, for crowdfunding platforms, and for investors, and policy recommendations.

 

Oliver Gadja (ECN) then explained the details of what crowdfunding is about, which are the leading countries, and what the challenges at EU level are, notably the issue of disparity of legislation and difficulties crowdfunding platforms face for allowing financing for a project located outside the country of residence of the investors.

 

Session II was focused on the Crowdfunding Platforms perspectives. The platform partners in CrowdFundRES project, Robert Van Maaren (Abundance), Maarten De Jong (OnePlanetCrowd), and Alex Raguet (Lumo) showed participants how renewable projects were concretely funded due to crowdfunding. The fact that each country (UK, Netherlands, France) has its specificities raised questions, and notably on how to fund projects in different countries to the ones presented in the panel. The presentations were very much appreciated among the participants who showed interest in the concept and surprised at the potentially different conditions to fund a RES project. The solar park Torreilles project that Lumo and OnePlanetCrowd commonly crowdfunded shed a positive light on how to overcome barriers to cross-border crowdfunding.

 

The last session enabled a focus on concrete projects and opportunities in the Netherlands. Dennis De Jong (Holland Solar) explained how much solar development is linked to more empowerment of consumers and the local added-value of that source of energy. Projections of new capacity for solar are very positive in the Netherlands in the coming years. Crowdfunding can be a way to participate in this trend.

 

And finally, Roderick Van Wisselingh presented the business model developed by Solease: the leasing of solar panels. It allows any citizen to consume clean electricity self-produced on the roof without bearing the initial investment costs. They pay a monthly fixed amount and benefit from the savings allowed by net-metering schemes in place in Holland. Such a progressive business model allowing any citizen to become a prosumer was allowed due to crowdfunding, and notably, the loans were raised through the OnePlanetCrowd platform. It is worth noticing that net-metering schemes are jeopardized by the upcoming revision of the EU energy legislation, as the Commission proposed to ban them. This recalls that consistent support policies for renewables are still at the heart of crowdfunded projects, and that policy makers need to take into account the policy recommendations developed by the actors of both sectors.

 

The workshop then came to an end with a networking cocktail in which the participants of the workshop were invited to share their thoughts and contacts.

 

Download the presentations of the workshop here: http://www.crowdfundres.eu/news/crowdfunding-renewable-energy-projects-europe-reality-bright-perspectives/