Positive + Payback

To develop a new, online crowd-sourcing investor portal which will enable anyone to invest in community renewable energy projects. 2015 Melbourne Fellowship Project

This project targets a key challenge for small scale community renewable energy projects - finding and facilitating sufficient financing.

Bridget Ryan and Sophie Hutchinson come from renewable energy and sustainable design backgrounds and aim to find like-minded individuals in the sustainability, web communications and finance communities to take this project idea from genesis through to impact. 

The aim is to develop a new, online crowd-sourcing investor portal that makes it possible for anyone to invest in community renewable energy projects. The idea is to connect environmentally and socially conscious investors with community renewable energy projects. The aim is to match these small investors/investments with community renewable energy projects in their local area or region.  

Right now, in Australia, there’s no simple way for small investors to support community renewable energy projects. This project targets a key challenge for small scale community renewable energy projects - finding and facilitating sufficient financing. This project focusses specifically on enabling finance from community members to community owned/auspiced renewable energy projects.  By enabling people to engage directly in creating change and driving  positive returns to the environment through lower emissions; the community through lower costs/more renewable installations; and the individual through returns to their hip-pocket a stronger more engaged community of renewable energy investor-owners can be built. With success, this project could be a catalyst for further embedding the support of the broad community for sustainable, stable renewable energy policies and incentives.

There are examples internationally of successful crowd-sourced investment platforms that link small investors with community owned renewable energy projects such as Abundance Generation (UK) and Mosaic (US). While at present there are particular hurdles in Australia that hinder such platforms from being launched domestically, there are ways to incorporate elements from sharing economy models which, combined with some small regulatory changes, could open up to the market for this type of investment in progressive and sustainable communities and businesses.

The target audience for this project/business idea is those members of the community that support renewable energy (75-90%) and are directing their money towards ethically, environmentally and sustainability positive businesses and projects.

The project launch is not set in stone and is likely to take some time before all elements are ready to go.



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