A new website has been launched with the aim of enabling people to invest from as little as £5 in green energy projects and enjoy an attractive return.
Abundance describes itself as a "community finance platform" allowing small investors to put money into UK renewable energy schemes and receive a regular cash return based on the energy produced.
It is looking to raise money from consumers tired of the old banking model who want their cash to be used to help fund green projects and facilitate change. And it says rates of return are expected to average 5%-9%, depending on the type of scheme in which the money is invested.
Abundance is currently aiming to raise £1.4m to build a wind turbine on the edge of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, and has plans for further renewable energy schemes – solar and hydro – around the country.
The platform says it works in a similar way to "peer-to-peer" lending websites such as Zopa - as a middle man, getting investors together with community groups and companies that want to build environmental projects. It collects the money and organises the payouts to investors in return for a 1.9% fee paid by the body that builds and operates the project.
Individuals can invest as little as £5 in each project, or as much as £50,000. Abundance is marketing itself on the basis that some investors will put in enough to produce a return each year that will cover their annual electricity bill – typically £500 a year.
Bruce Davis, the site's co-founder, and one of the founders of Zopa, describes the website as democratic finance in action. "We are enabling small investors to produce a regular return from the generation and sale of 100% green electricity from wind, solar, hydro and other renewable energy sources," he says.
"Abundance is like a building society for the 21st century which enables our customers' money to go directly into projects generating growth and revenue in the real economy."