The move extends Ecology’s support of UK Renewable Energy Projects
May 5,2015: Ethical investment in the UK continues to thrive and expand its reach as the Ecology Building Society has made an investment of £250,000 through Abundance, the UK’s leading online ethical investment platform. Both organisations have a long commitment to the spirit of democratic finance and this tie up between a building society and an ethical investment platform is a historic first. Ecology Building Society will invest on equal terms alongside the individual Abundance investors who invest from just £5 in each project.
After successful completion of an extensive due diligence process, Ecology selected the Oakapple Berwickshire project, currently live on the Abundance platform, to make its first investment. The project involves installation of 749 roof mounted solar panel systems with a total capacity of 2,595 kW across homes owned by the Berwickshire Housing Association in locations including Duns, Eyemouth and Coldstream.
Investment in this project will produce an effective rate of return (IRR) of 7.5%, paid twice yearly to investors as cash payments over the 20 year term of the project. Berwickshire Housing Association tenants living in the homes on which the solar panels are installed will enjoy a substantial drop in their energy bills – up to as much as a 30% reduction – without having to pay anything towards the project.
Oakapple Berwickshire is a perfect example of the Abundance mission in action; offering a low risk investment that pays an attractive return to investors, but also has wider positive outcomes – for the Berwickshire Housing Association residents, the UK’s international commitment to cutting its carbon footprint and the environment generally.
Bruce Davis, cofounder and joint MD of Abundance said, “We have always admired Ecology Building Society’s commitment to ethical and sustainable finance – they have been doing it successfully for more than 30 years – and feel genuinely proud that after a long period of due diligence they selected the Abundance platform and projects to make their first investment. We hope this collaboration will help shape the future of ethical finance for the next 30 years.”
Paul Ellis, CEO of the Ecology Building Society said, “We’re pleased to be involved with the Oakapple Berwickshire project. It’s a great fit for us as it addresses our members’ desire to tackle fuel poverty, support social housing and add to the UK’s growing renewables capacity. We believe that investing via crowdfunding platforms allows institutions to stand alongside individual investors, and amplify the impact of their investments in a diverse funding package. We have been impressed by the rigour of Abundance’s underwriting, and expect to develop our relationship further”.
This first injection from the Ecology Building Society increases the total investment in Oakapple Berwickshire to more than £1.5 million, well past the minimum raise of £500,000. The target total raise remains £3.1 million. Since launch, Abundance has raised more than £9.5 million of investment into its ethical projects.
Investment in projects offered by Abundance is made through the purchase of Debentures – official IOUs that commit to pay returns on top of the original capital. Returns will be paid in single or twice yearly payments over the term of the project (depending on the project), although investors wishing to cash in early can sell their holdings on to others via the Abundance website.
Capital is at risk and returns are variable. Investments are long term and not readily realisable.