Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CrowdFundRES Report Summary

Project ID: 646435

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CrowdFundRES (Unleashing the potential of Crowdfunding for Financing Renewable Energy Projects)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

We are currently seeing a deceleration of renewable energy growth in Europe. This is partly attributed to the challenges for financing renewable energy projects. Reduced access to conventional financing options over the past few years has triggered innovative financing schemes to emerge, with crowdfunding attracting a lot of attention.

CrowdFundRES recognises the vast potential of crowdfunding for financing renewable energy projects and brings together the three following target groups: 1) Renewable energy project developers whose access to financing is getting more challenging 2) The part of the public that has an interest in investing even very small amounts of their savings in renewable energy projects 3) Crowdfunding platforms who act as intermediaries facilitating the financial transaction between the public and the project developers.

CrowdFundRES aims to contribute to the acceleration of the renewable energy growth in Europe by unleashing the potential of crowdfunding for financing renewable energy projects. In order to achieve this, the work has been structured for achieving the following objectives:
1. Deepen understanding of adoption of crowdfunding for financing renewable energy projects
2. Analyse the challenges faced by the application of crowdfunding for renewable energy projects in Europe
3. Develop and apply guidelines that support more effective practices
4. Help improve the market and regulatory framework in Europe
5. Promote the crowdfunding concept and its advantages among those who could contribute or raise funds

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In this project leading European crowdfunding experts are working together with the renewable energy community with the aim to unleash the potential of crowdfunding for financing renewable energy projects. Over the first half of the project:
• A review and update of crowdfunding regulation and RES market developments has been conducted providing a detailed overview of the fast changing regulatory conditions in all 28 EU Member States
• Three online surveys were conducted at the European level, one regarding public perceptions about crowdfunding in the renewables sector, with the others examining the views of crowdfunding platforms and RES project developers
• A follow up survey seeking to determine how investors value the specific characteristics of potential investments was conducted
• Case studies from Europe’s leading RES crowdfunding platforms have been reported providing a detailed view of how platforms operate as well as an overview of individual RES projects that have raised funds on the respective platforms
• Two workshops were organised, one with crowdfunding platforms and one with renewable energy project developers around Europe, where input to guidelines for crowdfunding platforms and project developers was collected and insights for policy recommendations were discussed
• More than 175.000 stakeholders including crowdfunding experts, different types of renewable energy developers and professionals, NGOs, environmental organisations, policy makers and the wider public have been reached through the projects dissemination activities

This work has improved understanding of how crowdfunding is used for financing renewable energy projects and has helped analyse the challenges faced by the application of this innovative mechanism for financing such projects as well as the drivers of its growth in Europe.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Increasing the share of renewable electricity will be among the main impacts of the CrowdFundRES project. The direct outcome is the improvement of access to financing through innovative crowdfunding methods for renewable energy projects that face difficulties to attract conventional financing. The impact is not restricted to renewable electricity as crowdfunding and the project results also cover energy efficiency.

Already as part of the project activities renewable electricity projects will be crowdfunded in order to gain practical experiences that will be used as input to the development of guidelines for project developers and for crowdfunding platforms. Already two years after the end of the project, in 2020, the impact will be much larger with many more project developers and crowdfunding platforms that will have been reached through as part of our campaign becoming active. As crowdfunding expands to other countries and also covers larger projects, the growth will be exponential, with the potential to have an important contribution to the growth of renewable energy, especially in the period from 2020 onwards.

Crowdfunding can also be a very useful tool in building public support for RES projects. Among the factors that tend to delay the authorisation process are the reactions from the public in the locations where renewable energy projects or related infrastructure is developed. The sense of ownership and benefits sharing that crowdfunding brings, even if that is a small percentage of the development for each individual, is a very strong tool to shift the mood of the local community.

The development of better policy, regulatory market support and financing frameworks is also among the main impacts of the project. The consortium is working on concrete recommendations for improvements on the regulatory framework affecting crowdfunding in the EU and in the target countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK) involving decision makers on the European and national level which increases the chances that they will be adopted resulting in developing better policy, regulatory and market support frameworks.

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